George Floyd's death has sparked nationwide protests. The public is demanding justice for the victim.
As citizens of one of the greatest democracies in the world, we believe in being treated fairly with respect by the law and its enforcers. However, various incidents of police brutality reported from around the country have definitely made many of us question this belief. The death of George Floyd is such an incident.
According to CNN, the 46-year-old man died in Minneapolis after a police officer, Derek Chauvin handcuffed him and used his knee to pin him down by his neck to the ground. He was arrested after a grocery store employee accused him of using a counterfeit $20 bill.
"Please I can't breath Officer, the knee on my neck, I'm going to die".— Sam Mugomanyi (@SamMugomanyi) May 28, 2020
Last words of George flyod 😭😭 pic.twitter.com/HJlN2c7IPx
Video footage recorded by a bystander showed the man pinned down mercilessly despite showing no signs of resistance. Though he cried for help and complained he couldn't breathe, the officer did not loosen his grip on his neck.
"Please, I can't breathe, My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts. ... (I need) water or something. Please. Please. I can't breathe, officer. I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe," said Floyd.
The officer continued pressing against his neck while his associates refrained from intervening. Within minutes, Floyd went silent and was lying motionless. The video then showed the man being transported on to an ambulance by the paramedics. A short while later, he passed away. According to Fobes, he was declared dead at 9:25 p.m. on 25 May 2020 at Hennepin County Medical Center.
"Minneapolis Police Officer Who ‘Killed’ George Floyd Is Reportedly Identified— Curt Flood, Jr. (@curtfloodjr) May 26, 2020
Derek Chauvin has a history of on-duty shootings."https://t.co/7V11MTZC1s
The horrifying video that circulated all over the internet sent shockwaves across the country. Chauvin and three other officers involved were immediately fired. “Any officer who abuses their power or stands by and allows it to happen does not deserve to wear the badge, period,” said Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown, condemning the brutality, according to APN News. The FBI is now looking into whether the officers willfully deprived Floyd of his civil rights.
Meanwhile, Floyd's family wants the officers to be charged with criminal offenses. "That’s definitely not enough justice for me or my family. I feel like those guys need to be put in jail," said his sister, Bridgett Floyd from her home in Raeford, N.C, according to MPRN News.
EVERYBODY NEEDS TO SPEAK UP AND SAY SOMETHING❕GEORGE FLYOD IS NO LONGER ALIVE BECAUSE OF THE MURDERER WHO LIES AMONG THE GIVERNEMNT! WE NEED TO SPEAK UP pic.twitter.com/TXKGgF00UX— 𝔤𝔬𝔬𝔣𝔶 𝔤𝔬𝔬𝔟𝔢𝔯 ¹ ⁴ | 👸🏾 (@lachrymois_t) May 28, 2020
“They murdered my brother. They killed him. They need to apply more pressure on these guys. Firing them is not enough," she said, according to ABC News. The grieving sister, who could not stand to watch the video of the encounter stated, "We were told that a police officer had his knee kneeled into our brother's neck while he was handcuffed to the ground. That's all I could see in my head, was that the police officer was putting all his might into my brother's neck to where he could not catch his breath. He could not breathe," said the woman to ABC News.
Demonstrators Flood Columbus Streets To Protest Police Violence, George Floyd’s Death pic.twitter.com/RqoJTa0Lnh— MUSTECH Home OF Technology (@MustechT) May 29, 2020
Recalling Floyd, his brother, Philonise Floyd said, "Knowing my brother is to love my brother. He's a gentle giant, he don't hurt anybody." Floyd's friends and family stated that the Houston native moved to Minnesota for work. "He knew he had to relocate to be his best self," said his friend, Stephen Jackson, a former NBA player, according to CNN.
Floyd worked as security at Conga Latin Bistro and was known to be a compassionate and caring person. "He was loved by all my employees and my customers. He was my friend," said Jovanni Thunstrom, the owner of the restaurant. He further described his disbelief in watching the video. "I was looking at the video and I said that can't be Floyd, but later it just blew out. It was Floyd. And that's when it hit me, it hit me hard," said the owner.
Live updates: George Floyd protests spread nationwide https://t.co/b94ssdlOhY— My Beautiful Destination (@MyBeauDes) May 29, 2020
Worrying situations in a democracy. #democracy #freedom #liberty #GeorgeFloydprotest #GeorgeFlyod pic.twitter.com/tA6E2NHn2h
Another friend, Courteney Ross remembered him as the person who stood up for the rejected and unloved. "...he was there for people when they were down, he loved people that were thrown away. We prayed over every meal, we prayed if we were having a hard time, we prayed if we were having a good time," said the woman, according to CNN.
Meanwhile, the brutal incident has led to widespread protests, according to CNN. Many took to streets demanding justice for the victim. Thousands marched in solidarity to the victim and set a police precinct to fire in Minnesota. Denver, Colorado; New York City; Memphis, Tennessee; Phoenix, Arizona; and Columbus, Ohio, also saw large gatherings protesting against police brutality.
If you’re unbothered or mildly bothered by the 1st knee, but outraged by the 2nd, then, in my father’s words, you’re “more devoted to order than to justice.” And more passionate about an anthem that supposedly symbolizes freedom than you are about a Black man’s freedom to live. pic.twitter.com/kxpVOEeTNR— Be A King (@BerniceKing) May 26, 2020
In addition to these protests, people are using social media to condemn the brutal act. Many including celebrities shared a striking photo comparison of the officer kneeling on Floyd on one side and NFL player, Colin Kaepernick kneeling on the sidelines. Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. posted the picture and wrote, "If you're unbothered or mildly bothered by the 1st knee, but outraged by the 2nd, then, in my father's words, you're 'more devoted to order than to justice.' And more passionate about an anthem that supposedly symbolizes freedom than you are about a Black man's freedom to live."
On the other hand, the prosecutors for the case has requested the public to be patient. They also assured that justice will be ensured. "I am pleading with individuals to remain calm and let us conduct this investigation. Our highest priority is that justice will be served. Sometimes that takes a little time and we ask people to be patient. We have to get this right," said Erica MacDonald, according to CNN.
"We are going to investigate it as expeditiously, as thoroughly as justice demands. That video is graphic, horrific, and terrible. And no person should do that," said Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman. He added that the involved policemen have invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.