Summary: Police suffocation of George Floyd sets US ablaze, revealing underlying racial and class oppression — Editors
On May 25 2020, a white woman named Amy Cooper walked her dog in New York City’s Central Park. She later called emergency services to lie that a Black man was threatening her. Thanks to the true victim’s use of a smartphone camera, it was later found that the white woman did not want to be told by a Black man to keep her dog on a leash in an area where unleashed dogs were forbidden to protect a bird sanctuary. Unfortunately, white supremacist activities did not end that day, although a man’s life did.
Later, four police officers of the Minneapolis Parks Police Department murdered a Black man named George Floyd. The official police report claimed that Floyd, a nightclub bouncer and private security guard, committed the crime of a “forgery in progress,” i.e., trying to buy something with a counterfeit $20 bill. This is a common occurrence in the United States.
George Floyd shopped at a store called Cup Foods in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The official policy of the store is to report those who use counterfeit currency to the police. A worker faithfully obeyed their boss’s policy and called the police. Upon law enforcement’s arrival, the police claimed in their official report that Boyd resisted arrest for the supposedly heinous crime of possessing cash currency that he did not rigorously check for authenticity. Surveillance footage later proved they lied.
What is even clearer to those with eyes to see and ears to hear is what followed next. An officer named Derek Chauvin kept a tight knee on the back of George Floyd’s neck. Two other officers, Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng, held his body down by pushing Floyd’s other flesh into the street. Another officer named Tou Thao protected his “fraternal” brothers from onlookers and repeatedly told pleading bystanders “Don’t do drugs, kids.”
Derek Chauvin was an officer with 18 formal complaints leveled against him, while Tou Thao had 6 such complaints. The two other officers had none. Their police chain of command never took disciplinary action. Many victims of police practices never report their issues because they know their complaints will not be taken seriously.
George Floyd repeatedly told these officers with his dying breaths that he could not breathe. Again and again, he begged and pleaded for Officer Chauvin to remove his knee. He cried out for any human decency from his captors. He told the increasingly angry people on the sidewalk that the officers were killing him. With his life flashing before his eyes, his thoughts went to his mother. This colossus of a grown man, measuring 6 feet and 7 inches, of hulking muscular build, begged his mother to come save his life. Nobody saved him.
Before Floyd passed away, Officer Chauvin heard bystanders’ demands to remove his knee from Floyd’s neck, one of the most vital areas of the human body. Despite later lying that all four officers were simply trying to stop a dangerous man from resisting arrest, he nonchalantly put his hand in his pocket like he was on a Sunday stroll. He continued choking the life force out of a man in handcuffs.
When someone on the sidewalk became furious and told him he was a coward, Officer Chauvin discovered his chemical courage and took his mace out as a threat against the crowd. Officer Thao screamed wildly at the people to stay on the sidewalk. A bystander trained as a paramedic told the officers to check his pulse. Officer Thao angrily questioned the woman if she was an EMT. She replied in the affirmative and was promptly ignored. George Floyd died like a dog on the street. He was murdered by true predators.
A massive rebellion, one of the largest in United States history, took place not only in Minneapolis but across the country. At this writing, these mass actions continue to occur. State governors are ordering the Army National Guard, the historically preferred tool of riot control against poor people, to act as Law Enforcement against the uprisings.
While calling it an arrest, the Minnesota State Patrol, another armed group of uniformed hooligans, kidnapped a Black CNN journalist named Omar Jimenez and his entire camera crew as they stood on the street politely asking the police where they should position. No white journalists have been arrested in Minneapolis, the epicenter of brutality, where this took place. Loyal to the “Blue Wall of Silence,” a poetic phrase that describes the policeman’s unwritten creed to not report and to hide their associates’ wrongdoings, no police officer tried to stop this. Standing there like creatures without free will or humanity, they decided to keep their pensions and allow a flagrant violation of the United States Bill of Rights to occur.
Another journalist named Linda Tirado was hit in the eye by the Minneapolis Police with a rubber bullet, leaving her permanently blind in one eye. A video of four Army National Guardsmen in Minneapolis shows them struggling to pin a Black man to the hood of a car. After he breaks free of the part-time soldiers’ grip, they run away into their Humvee. Out of rage, the Black man and a white ally jump on the Humvee. After the white man falls off, the soldiers drive off at high speed with the Black man still on the roof. As they well knew, any sudden braking can lead to paralysis or even death of anyone on the roof of one’s car. His fate is unknown, as is that of many of those injured that night. A video revealed that even a skinny white woman in New York City was shoved violently into the ground by a muscular member of the New York Police Department during protests there.
These uprisings have humiliated many police departments and National Guard units. Besieged by protestors, the police surrendered the 3rd station precinct in Minneapolis to the people. In a video that has become famous, the entire police garrison of the 3rd precinct abandoned their posts and drove away amidst going away presents of rocks, flares, and glass from the people. The Democratic Mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, said publicly that he ordered the surrender due to his fear that many police officers would die if he ordered them to stay. Meanwhile, internet hackers from Anonymous shut down the Minneapolis Police Department’s website.
A statue of a virulent racist, Edward W. Carmack, was levelled by protesters in Nashville, Tennessee. He is famous in history books for condemning antilynching campaigns started by Black journalist Ida B. Wells. The city hall and courthouse there were set ablaze, overwhelming the police. A Sheriff’s office in Portland, Oregon, wrongly named the “Justice Center,” was also set ablaze by protesters. Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, one of the most frequent shopping haunts of the most bourgeois liberals, was looted, with crowds trying to attack a Gucci store. Even the White House, one of Donald Trump’s many residences, was affected. People of all races whose centuries-long anger over the killing of Black people boiled over as they broke security barriers.
The constant dehumanization of Black and other oppressed people in the United States has led to a hurricane of resistance. The forces of respectable law and order, founded on the enslavement of Black folks in the fields, and now progressively resting on enslaved Black and Brown bodies in the prisons, have floundered. Even American conservatives such as Jeanine Pirro and Laura Ingraham, tried and true Trump devotees, have become emotional when describing George Floyd’s annihilation from the Earth.
At a time when both Democratic and Republican parties have failed People of Color and working folks of the United States, ordinary people in the United States are telling the world they are sick and tired of the police. They increasingly strive toward the legacy of Malcolm X. Malcolm X, who inflicted so much fear into the hearts of oppressors, realized that we needed a society free of capitalism if we were to ever destroy racism’s material power in our lives. He knew the capitalists behind the pageant of law and order. He realized that none of us can breathe.
Tell him how you feel! Tell him what kind of hell you been catching! Let him know that if he is not ready to clean his house up…. If he is NOT ready to clean his house up, he shouldn’t have a house
It should catch on fire.
And burn down.
Malcom X, 1962
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Thonette Myking on June 1, 2020 at 9:05 am
Thank you for a very informative article
Thank you for a very informative article