As the world is fighting the coronavirus and adjusting to life in lockdown, an incident in the USA of police brutality comes into picture. The horrific act of a police officer arresting and nabbing a black man, George Floyd, until he died was recorded in a video and spread like wildfire in the whole world. This stirred the anger in citizens of America as well as the rest of the world.
What went down with George Floyd that day
A deli worker who claimed that George Floyd is paying with a counterfeit 20$ note. Protests erupted in USA against the unjust murder of George Floyd. Officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas K. Lane participated in Floyd’s arrest, with Kueng holding Floyd’s back, Lane holding his legs, and Thao looking on as he stood nearby.
George Floyd died in police custody on his way to hospital. Bystanders recorded the incident that came into light later.
Police claims and states that Floyd was resisting the arrest. Official autopsy claims that the cause of death is not strangulation. In fact, it is the underlying health conditions and potential intoxicants in his system that got triggered while restraining. As a result, attorneys for Floyd’s family requested for an independent autopsy.
Who was George Floyd
George Perry Floyd (October 14, 1973 – May 25, 2020) was a 46-year-old African-American man who was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina. In addition to that, he was raised in Houston, Texas. He attended Yates High School where he played on the basketball and football teams. Floyd was a star tight end for Yates, helping them to the 1992 state championship final game. He played basketball at South Florida Community College from 1993 to 1995.
In 2014, Floyd moved to Minnesota. He lived in St. Louis Park and worked in nearby Minneapolis as a restaurant security guard for five years. At the time of his death, Floyd had recently lost his job due to Minnesota’s stay-at-home order during the COVID-19 pandemic. Floyd was the father of two daughters, aged 6 and 22. His friends and family described him as a “gentle giant”.
Eruption of Protests
The protest spread across the city
On 27th, people from other cities came together to demonstrate anger. In Memphis, a protest over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., and Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Ga., led the police to temporarily shut down a portion of a street.
In Los Angeles, hundreds of protesters converged in the city’s downtown area.
Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota activated the National Guard on Thursday. The order came as the city asked for help after vandalism and fires broke out during demonstrations and as the Justice Department said a federal investigation into Mr. Floyd’s death was a top priority. Meanwhile, Minneapolis’s mayor, Jacob Fray pleaded with protestors to return. He assured them that they will bring security and peace in order.
Administration took charge and clashes occurred
On 29th, President Trump mentioned the possibility of interference by the military. He warned the protestors and criticized the leadership of Minneapolis. His statement on twitter raised serious concern. On Twitter, Mr. Trump called the protesters “thugs” and said, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
On the same day, hundreds of demonstrators poured into the streets near Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park, leaving behind smashed windows. That night, protesters also clashed with the police across Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan. As a result officers and demonstrators were left injured.
In Washington, a crowd gathered outside the White House, prompting the Secret Service to temporarily lock down the building. Moreover, in Detroit, a 19-year-old man was killed when someone opened fire into a crowd of demonstrators, the police said.
In Dallas, protesters and the police clashed during a demonstration block from City Hall. Officers responded with tear gas. Meanwhile, protesters blocked the path of a police vehicle and banged on its hood.
On 30th May,Mayor says peaceful protests have turned to ‘domestic terrorism.
On 31st May, at least five people were killed in violence connected to the protests. For the same, Mayor Lightfoot condemned it.
The authorities are investigating the fatal shooting of a federal officer. The debate is to keep this case separate from the protests and their cause.
The reason for the protests
Discrimination against African-Americans or other people of colours in not new in United States. This case showcased how poorly black people are treated. The brutality with which Derek Michael Chauvin nabbed and killed George Floyd raised these following questions.
Why the law enforcers themselves are not protecting. What happens when they themselves not ideate to the laws set by the society. What gave power to those officers to do what they did without any doubt or second thought. So much so, they ignored George’s plea of not being able to breathe. These questions are raised in the form of protests and demonstrations.
Pictures are provided via nytimes.