How the murder of George Floyd became a spark that ignited a much larger Black Lives Matter flame
This is not a new story in America. An African American man is pinned down by a cop and the interaction results in him losing his life. We have heard it all before.
Unfortunately, this story unfolded once more on Monday night when George Floyd was suffocated to death as a police officer held his knee against Floyd’s neck. His last words seemingly being, “I can’t breathe” and calling for his mother are met with a police officer pushing on his neck until his eyes close and he is gone.
This tragic and disturbing event took place after police responded to a call regarding a “forgery in progress” and made the arrest. How this call led to the events seen in the video circulating the internet is yet to be determined, as Mr. Floyd does not seem to be resisting arrest nor deserving of such harsh treatment.
If you would like to watch the video, I warn you that it is graphic and heartbreaking, but it can be found at this link.
This. Is. Horrifying. Period.
We should never have to turn on the news to see such an egregious overuse of force again. As of Wednesday night, the four officers involved have been fired, but two are receiving pay. The Mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, is calling for these cops to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and for justice to be served.
As news broke of this horrific event throughout the days on Tuesday and Wednesday, there seemed to be a different tone in the conversation. First, there was not much disagreement between the political aisles. Almost everyone, of every shade, nation and gender, agrees that this cop is the most despicable of humans and should be charged and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The president has even called on the United States Department of Justice to do an investigation into Floyd’s death, according to his tweet. The president stepping into this conversation proves this case is superior to politics.
Racism is not okay. Not now, not ever. It is an epidemic our country has been fighting to end since its conception, and it needs to end now.
With that said, I feel the need to address what took place Wednesday afternoon and into Thursday morning.
On Wednesday afternoon in Los Angeles, protestors blocked the 101 freeway in protest over the murder of George Floyd. Not only did the individuals protest but jumped on the hoods of cop cars and smashed their windows. Here is video footage of the incident.
Meanwhile in Minneapolis, the news captured footage of groups looting Target and other nearby stores in protest of this murder. Autozone also went up in flames Wednesday night. As the volume of these protests only increases, the city has asked for the help of the National Guard in handling the situation and protecting citizens. Here is a link to a short clip of the aftermath.
As people begin to claim this is the only option because peaceful protests do not work, Floyd’s family has come out saying they wish people would stop ruining the city he loved so dearly.
“Waking up this morning to see Minneapolis on fire would be something that would devastate Floyd,” said Ross, Floyd’s girlfriend.
On the other side of the spectrum, Cardi B suggested on Twitter that people are left with “no choice” but to riot, because they have yet to see change.
The bottom line when it comes to rioting is that authorities do not respond well to harm and destruction. We should use our words and our actions to explain what we want and why we want it. Ruining businesses, the lives of those employees and the city in general does not make the government want to invoke the change we desire.
What does work? Putting together an agenda. Deciding what kind of action we want. Maybe action has yet to be taken because “calling for an end to the system” does not really do much. “The System” does not have laws that tell officers to knee African American men until they cannot breathe. That was not “the system” failing but the individual.
So yes. Get mad. Get righteously angry. Demand justice where it ceases to exist. But do so with a plan of action. Make the world better, do not just add to the chaos.
We cannot let George Floyd’s death be in vain. Whenever injustice is committed, we cannot blame an entire swath of people. There are good cops in the world. Cops that protect and defend our cities.
To protect those cops, however, we must also condemn the bad ones. I hope these four cops are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, because what they did was beyond comprehension. I hope the justice system does its job, and we continue to call out these cases not just as they happen, but before they happen. I hope we remember this fight is not against one another but together against injustice.
We cannot let this action deem all of America as a racist and unsafe nation, but we must take this as a wakeup call against racist individuals. If we want to be heard, we must demand to be heard in a peaceful manner. That is how democracy works. We must continue to fight until the police station, and any powerful organization, is not a racists safe haven.
I pray for peace and safety over George Floyd’s loved ones and the city of Minneapolis. I pray our nation can heal and glue itself back together. I pray we fight harder against racism. I pray we remember who the real enemy is and cease to fight one another.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4