On 25 May 2020, a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, kneeled on a 46-year old African-American man’s neck for 8 minutes 46 seconds and killed him while three other police officers stood by witnessing the incident.
This is the story of George Floyd’s death. But it is so much more than just that.
Floyd’s death symbolizes the injustice corroding the roots of American democracy. It signifies the bigotry of white supremacists that continues to attack the country’s cultural diversity. But most importantly, it adds another account to justify the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Celebrities condemned the death of George Floyd and spoke up against the Trump administration’s response to the incident on social media.
Back in 2012, a 17-year old African-American boy was shot dead by a police officer in Sanford, Florida. Trayvon Benjamin Martin was visiting his father’s fiancée in Florida. He was returning to the place from a nearby convenience store when George Zimmerman, the police officer, got into a fight with the teenager. A few minutes later, Martin was shot dead.
Zimmerman was acquitted of charges of manslaughter and second-degree murder. That marked the beginning of the historic Black Lives Matter movement.
Floyd’s death is eerily reminiscent of what happened with Eric Garner, a 43-year old African-American man, in 2014 in Staten Island. A few NYPD officers approached Garner on the suspicion that he was selling single cigarettes. When he replied in frustration of being repeatedly harassed, the officers tried to arrest him. Daniel Pantaleo cloaked his arms around Garner’s neck, ultimately killing him.
Garner, like Floyd, screamed for his life with the words, “I can’t breathe.” But to no avail. Pantaleo was neither indicted nor terminated from service. He was fired five years after Garner’s murder.
Hardly a month after Garner’s death, another teenage African-American teenager was shot dead in Missouri. Darren Wilson grabbed the boy, Michael Brown Jr., by the neck and threatened to shoot him. Brown turned his hands up in the air and shouted, “don’t shoot” when Wilson fired multiple shots.
After some lengthy proceedings, it was declared that Wilson fired shots in self-defense. He was cleared of all charges.
Multiple Precedents, Reinforced Inequality
There happen to be hundreds of similar stories of police brutality against and racial profiling of African-Americans. From Rodney King to George Floyd, multiple narratives reveal the ugly face of racism in the USA. The famous hacktivist group Anonymous Legion also resurfaced with a video condemning the repeated police brutality prevalent in the USA.
Unless there is a concerted reckoning of this racist policing, America’s diversity is bound to remain under such attacks by the bigots.