Another year, another unarmed black man is killed and dies in the hands of police officers.
"I can't breathe." Those were the last heartbreaking words from the 'gentle giant'--George Floyd, who died painfully in the hands of a police officer.
If you have been watching the news, you probably have heard or read something about George Floyd, whose death has sparked unrest across the US. Black lives matter, and since to be silent means to be complicit, we felt that you should know about the unfoldings on your screens and why protests have erupted across the nation.
However, sickening this may sound; it is not the first time such an incident is happening. There have been at least two other murders in the hands of Minneapolis law enforcers, and the officers involved were never held accountable. The only time justice was served was when the victim was a white American, and the officer was black.
Politicians, musicians, actresses, some police officers, and various organizations have taken to social media to condemn the act, donating and urging others to support the Minnesota Freedom Fund. So, who was George Floyd? Why was he arrested, and why was he killed?
The ‘the gentle giant’ who was George Floyd?
The late George Floyd was a 46-year-old man who had moved from Houston to Minneapolis several years ago to find work and start life anew, and he was happy with the changes he was making, according to his friend Christopher Harris. However, like many other people, he lost his job as a restaurant security guard when the government issued a stay-at-home order to contain the spread of Covid-19 disease.
His friend and family have described him as a gentle giant who would not hurt anyone. He had a beautiful spirit and a quiet personality, according to classmates. He was boyfriend and a devoted father to a beautiful daughter whom everyone says he adored. His boss described him as a cheerful person with a good attitude.
Why was he arrested, and did he deserve to die?
The key events that led to the arrest and painful death of the 46-year old happened within 30 minutes. Let's just be clear here, Floyd died as a result of a $20 bill.
The incident leading to his death happened after a call was made on May 25 when Floyd bought a pack of cigarettes from a grocery store known as Cup Foods. The teenage attendant believed the $20 bill handed by Floyd was counterfeit. The attendant said he called the police because Floyd would not give the cigarettes back when he demanded.
The police arrived, and one is said to have pulled a gun, which we all think was unnecessary as Floyd was unarmed. He was told that he was being arrested for passing counterfeit currency. It was when they tried to put him in the car that a struggle ensued. According to reports, Floyd fell to the ground and told the officers that he was claustrophobic.
That is when Derek Chauvin arrived and tried to help other officers get Floyd to the car. The officers were able to restrain him while Chauvin placed his left knee on Floyd's neck. Reports and videos have reported that Floyd repeated the phrase 'I can't breathe' and begged for his life and mother for the 8 minutes the officer pinned him. The same reason the prosecutors and lawyers think Derek Chauvin had intent to kill.
Just because he was black!
Hundreds of young black boys and men die every day in the hands of police officers who are never held accountable. To add salt into the injury, there are stories and reports of blacks being arrested and charged for crimes they have not committed or have been framed. Get this right, we are not saying that black people in America do not commit crimes, but the level in which such reports come into the media is alarming.
Racism And discrimination in Minneapolis is not anything new. Blacks are discriminated against in banks, insurance sectors, voting, and many other financial aspects that would help a person of color improve their lives. George Floyd's painful murder was the wake-up call to end police brutality and killing unarmed citizens.
Floyd begged for his life. He begged for mercy. For eight agonizing minutes, none of the officers tried to help. If one officer tried to intervene or respond, today, Floyd would be alive. Floyd's killing offends the fundamental principles of justice, the dignity of life, and the whole concept of humanity. As human beings, are we not responsible for each other? When did we stop caring about others just because they are "people of color"? Do we need to fight or get violent to get justice?
Let’s talk about police brutality in America
According to data compiled by the mapping Police Violence, police in the United States of America have killed more than 7,666 people between the years of 2013 and 2019. George Floyd was just another victim of the same who died in police custody while unarmed.
The infographics records that black Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police officers than white Americans despite them making up only 13 percent of the US total population. That is an indication that this killing disproportionately impacts African Americans. While we can't bring Floyd back, this should send a signal to all of us to be each other's caretaker and rid ourselves of racism.
The anger behind the Protests
Demonstrations have taken place in more than 30 cities across the US. The protests are set to continue as several states reinforce the National Guard. Many people have left their homes despite the curfews in place and matched the streets not to just seek justice for Floyd but to end the discrimination and rampant brutality by the police. The society is tired of having to mourn deaths in the hands of police officers who, in most cases, get away with the crimes.
As we advocate for justice and an end to these killings, let's not forget that we all have a role to play as a society. It takes the collaborative effort of each of us to end the vice of 'hating' or discriminating against other individuals with the simple reason--because someone is black, yellow, or pink.
We also advocate for peaceful demonstrations. Violence, looting and property destruction is a crime on its own. It changes and affects the whole concept of protests.
If we can embrace the fact that we are one and color doesn't define us, just imagine how happy our place on earth would be!