The Australian model was forced to barricade herself in her bathroom as looters targeted her apartment building.
The Australian model was forced to barricade herself in her bathroom as looters targeted her apartment building.

An Aussie model is caught up in the US riots

A Brisbane woman living in New York City has recalled the terrifying moment looters swept her apartment building in a "wave", forcing her to barricade herself in her bathroom.

Georgina Burke has been working in the city for a decade as a model and "completely supports" the protests that have broken out across the United States in response to George Floyd's death.

The black Minneapolis man was killed in police custody after being restrained, with all four officers involved in the arrest now charged over his death.

Australian model Georgina Burke has been living in New York for the last 10 years. Picture: Instagram
Australian model Georgina Burke has been living in New York for the last 10 years. Picture: Instagram

While many protests have been peaceful, some have turned ugly with rioters looting businesses and heavy-handed reactions from police towards protesters.

Ms Burke had been sleeping inside her apartment when she was woken at 4am by looters destroying the entrance of her building.

Petrified, she barricaded herself inside her bathroom and called her parents in Australia.

"It was terrifying at the time because I had no idea what was going to happen next," Ms Burke told news.com.au.

"The noise and the vibration of the building as it shattered made it impossible to figure out how close the looters were and what they wanted.

In the early hours of Monday morning Ms Burke woke to discover her apartment was being targeted by looters. Picture: Instagram
In the early hours of Monday morning Ms Burke woke to discover her apartment was being targeted by looters. Picture: Instagram

"I had my dog with me thank god, and I had my parents on FaceTime trying to talk me through it, but they were scared for me as well. It was a very long night, a minute felt like an hour. I'm sure that's the adrenaline."

After the "wave" of rioters had passed and Ms Burke could hear sirens downstairs, she went down to find the entrance of the building smashed up.

When she asked police if they could keep a car out the front for the rest of the night, her request was dismissed, stunning the model.

"I was more shocked than surprised," Ms Burke said. "It's hard to explain the sense of helplessness I felt in that moment. The lack of empathy was cold."

After the incident Ms Burke went to stay with friends which has helped her feel more protected.

Terrified, she barricaded herself in her bathroom until they left. Picture: Instagram
Terrified, she barricaded herself in her bathroom until they left. Picture: Instagram

"I'm safe now, I went to stay with friends the following day," she said. "I just feel safer with friends around me rather than being on my own."

Despite the scary experience Ms Burke said she "of course"supports the Black Lives Matter movement and it was a "tragedy" that those looting had taken attention away from peaceful protesters.

"I support the protests 100 per cent but unfortunately there are many people who are using the protests as cover for looting, senseless acts of violence and theft," she said.

Ms Burke said it’s a ‘tragedy’ that George Floyd’s death has been hijacked by those seeking to take advantage of the unrest. Picture: Instagram
Ms Burke said it’s a ‘tragedy’ that George Floyd’s death has been hijacked by those seeking to take advantage of the unrest. Picture: Instagram

"It's a tragedy that this has happened because it's taking away from the message of the protests."

Ms Burke said that one of her grandmothers had a "very hard life" when she had migrated to Australian from China.

"My family on my mother's side is Chinese and I grew up with very similar stories about the prejudice my mum and grandmother had to face during their lives," she said.

"As an Australian immigrant my grandmother had a very hard life. It wasn't until my grandmother was on her death bed that she shared some of her worst stories of survival with us as a family."

Originally published as 'Terrifying': Aussie model caught in riots



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