The death of George Floyd, an African-American man, occurred in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, when Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, knelt on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds; 2 minutes and 53 seconds of which occurred after Floyd became unresponsive, according to the criminal complaint filed against Chauvin. Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on the road, while Chauvin had his knee on his neck. The three other arresting officers were identified as Thomas K. Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng.
The police ask Floyd, “What do you want?” Floyd answers, “I can’t breathe.”
Floyd states: “Please, the knee in my neck, I can’t breathe.
Not long ago, I watched LA 92, a documentary about Rodney King and the trial of the police officers who were caught beating him. What started off as a case of police brutality turned into full scale riots and millions (or maybe even billions) in damages.
The most poignant moment of the documentary for me was footage of Rodney King asking the rioters to stop. Whether he was asked to do that, or he volunteered, I don’t know. What I do know is that by the time he showed up again in the documentary, it was almost as if I’d been focused on a new event entirely.
I bring that up to say that the people rioting and looting are a distraction. Their behaviour is opportunistic and unwarranted and I don’t think that people who protest peacefully should be misaligned with them.
That being said, looting and rioting is directly caused by the continued mistreatment and racism at the hands of law-enforcement in countries where black people are the minority. It’s also worth noting that police tend to escalate protests with heavy handed tactics – even though they caused the ENTIRE situation to begin with.
What happens is that people end up getting hurt. What should be a routine arrest – or in some case absolutely nothing at all – leads to death, violence, looting, loss of business, injury and suddenly scores of people are affected by the actions of a few police officers.
It’s a huge fucked up cycle.
Regarding the murder of George Floyd, it’s completely heartbreaking that once again this has happened.
I avoided watching the video for as long as possible, but…I had to watch it. In a way, we all have to. We have to face how horrifying it is because this is reality for so many black people.
That the police have no regard for black lives. That this officer pressed his knee onto George Lloyd’s neck for eight minutes. What’s the excuse? He had no weapon. He wasn’t resisting. He told the officer multiple times that he couldn’t breathe. What’s the excuse? Even with people filming them, four officers watched while a man died in front of them.
All he allegedly did was use a $20 counterfeit bill at a deli.
“My stomach hurts, my neck hurts, everything hurts”
Was it worth him losing his life? Was it even worth them losing their jobs? What the fuck are they teaching these people at the police academy?
They teach them to profile black people. They must do. Why else does this keep happening? Why such an overhanded response to a man who wasn’t resisting, wasn’t violent.
One bystander points out that Floyd is bleeding from the nose. Another tells the police that Floyd is “not even resisting arrest right now“. The police tell the bystanders that Floyd was “talking, he’s fine”; a bystander replies that Floyd “ain’t fine”. The bystander protests that the police were preventing Floyd from breathing, urging them, “Get him off the ground … You could have put him in the car by now. He’s not resisting arrest or nothing. You’re enjoying it. Look at you. Your body language.”
There is no way that the officer didn’t feel George Floyd’s life slipping away from him, didn’t realise that he was unresponsive and not breathing.
Yet, he kept his knee on his neck.
How do you murder someone – and that’s what it was – and just behave so callously? I don’t understand. I don’t think I want to either, because it takes a special kind of depravity to do something like that. I can’t understand why these police offers feel so comfortable targeting black people.
I honestly can’t.
I don’t even have much more to say. I didn’t want to watch the video because I knew it would hurt, and it did.
If you go online now, there are already people engaging in mental gymnastics to justify what the police did to George Floyd – surprise, surprise.
Black people are angry and hurt because when they kill one of us – it tells us how little they think of all of us, it tells us that we don’t matter.
It tells us that nothing has changed and that it may never change…
…and that will never be an easy pill to swallow.
Justice for George Floyd.