How did he die?
An African American man, George Floyd, 46, was killed by Minneapolis Police officers. Floyd was being investigated for forgery. George Floyd’s death was caused by a police officer holding him down on the ground with a knee on his neck. He was not shot to death but instead strangulated. Now, his family is pleading that his death is investigated as a murder case.
George Floyd’s death was caused by the extreme use of force by the police. This is clearly shown by security cameras and claimed by multiple eyewitness accounts as well. His death is described as gruesome and horrifying. Many claims said that it was clear he was not resisting arrest at any point.
There were witnesses who claimed that Floyd was pleading to the police and was asking for help. People who saw the incident said that he repeatedly said that he could not breathe. He continuously pleads for the police to take their knee out of his neck and just put him inside the police car. The police ignored his pleas. In just five minutes, Floyd’s eyes were closed, and he laid motionless on the ground. George Floyd’s death should not be another statistic where the US police used force where it is unnecessary.
George Floyd’s death caused protests in the US
Over the years there had been multiple instances of excessive police harassment or violence against the minorities, particularly men of African American descent. These may be an indicator of the unequal treatment of authorities against the minorities. In fact, it is so prevalent in the US that it has sparked up the movement #BlackLivesMatter. Now, in the middle of a pandemic where people should stay home and isolate, people are on the streets protesting about his death.
Now, the Minneapolis police are facing the problem of hundreds of people on the streets. There are reports of major clashes between protesters and the officers. The latter, throwing tear gas on the protesters to make them go home. There are also multiple protests online, from Americans all over the world. the hashtags #JusticeForGeorge #SayHisName and #ICantBreathe are currently trending online as more and more people join in on the protests.
Government action about George Floyd’s death
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said publicly that this kind of force was never encouraged. The technique used to restrain Floyd was never taught in training. He also said, with the supporting statements from the Chief of Police, that the technique is not in any way permitted. Now, four police officers who were on the case are being relieved from their posts and investigated.
Higher government officials have already said their piece on the issue. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar lobbies that a complete and thorough investigation must be held and justice must be served for Floyd and his grieving family.
Even athletes are now saying their thoughts on the issue. Famous NBA player Lebron James came reacted on the issue saying “Do you understand NOW?” with a hashtag #StayWoke. Lebron’s post included a photo of a kneeling Colin Kaepernick. This NFL player is known to kneel during the national anthem as a protest for issues like George Floyd’s death.
Racism in the Pandemic
The #ICantBreathe hashtag is actually not the first time to trend online. The #ICantBreathe movement was originally about Eric Garner. He was also a black man who died after an officer put him in a chokehold during an arrest. Because of the chokehold, he kept yelling that he couldn’t breathe. This happened a few minutes before he died, just in the same way George Floyd did. People kept seeing the same patterns, again and again. Many people are horrified by the similarities among these deaths in the hands of the police.
George Floyd’s death has highlighted once again the issues Americans face in their daily lives. The current global pandemic should not be a distraction for this. In fact, there are some statistics that show higher mortality rates to the minorities during this pandemic. Factors that affect this include socioeconomic difficulties and hospital bias. Racism is an issue everywhere, not just with police violence. The death of a man in the hands of people Americans should trust is a way to call out receipts from the government.
Because of the pandemic, it is important for the authorities to help their citizens feel secure. Everyone should remember that this issue on police violence against the minorities had been around for decades. And even if there is a pandemic, people’s rights to safety must never be forgotten. Instead, these issues must not be added to the pressures of the global pandemic the US is currently facing.