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George Floyd’s horrifying death in Minneapolis

George Floyd’s horrifying death in Minneapolis
May 29
13:50 2020
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There is understandable global outrage just as anger reached boiling point in Minneapolis, a major city in Minnesota, USA, over the heart breaking death of 46 years old black American George Floyd recently. Floyd, a former professional football player, died as a result of the barbaric, vicious, wicked and heartless attack by Derek Chauvin, a mad dog and murderer who calls himself a police officer. Under the weight of the knee of the misbegotten white police officer, Floyd kept moaning, “I can’t breathe.” Floyd was helpless as he gradually passed out. It was a traumatic scene.

Floyd experienced great discomfort, unbearable pain resulting in a weak pulse as the police officer continued to apply knee pressure on his neck for over seven minutes, according to media reports. To make matters worse, there were other police officers at the scene, watching the sordid use of brutal force on Floyd but they bluntly refused to intervene. Floyd was unarmed. It was a complete show of shame and disgusting contempt for human life.

Why would a police officer apply neck restraint on a suspect who was already in handcuffs and lying face down? I find it difficult to understand the motivation for the action of the police officers. It can only be the hurtful idea of racism because Floyd did not pose any threat neither did he resist arrest based on available evidence in the video footages that have gone viral.

Floyd died on May 25, 2020 shortly after the incident and Minnesota has known no peace since then. Violence erupted and the “Twin City” with neighbouring state capital St Paul has been up in flames from nights of protests. “What we saw was a public lynching without a rope,” said Leslie Redmond, president of the Minneapolis chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). “Enough is enough. We’re done dying; we want the police officers prosecuted,” Redmond told Al Jazeera.

Floyd or anyone for that matter should not be allowed to die like an animal in the hands of callous and unconscionable police officers. Bystanders pleaded with the police officers as Floyd was losing consciousness but the pleas fell on deaf ears. Floyd would have been alive today if there was no ulterior motive by Chauvin and his colleagues. Black and white lives matter, and the attack on black people around the world based on racial sentiments must stop; it has no place in today’s world.

At a time the United States was reaching a tragic 100,000 deaths milestone from the COVID-19 disease, the whole world is united in grief due to the harvest of deaths from the deadly virus. It is therefore highly unthinkable that the current mood in the world did not humble these police officers to understand that our common humanity has been greatly tested by coronavirus. What does the future hold for people of colour in the world?

Living in America is becoming a big problem for black people because of constant racial prejudices, harassments and police brutality leading to violent attacks and deaths. It is evident the current legal system in America needs urgent review otherwise how do we explain the reluctance to charge these police officers for Floyd’s death? Why can’t we all live together as one big happy family in the world regardless of colour, race, creed and religion? With increasing breakthroughs in science and technology, we are now living in a globalized world where we are daily confronted with augmented reality, robotics, space tourism, crypto-currency, block chain and 5G technologies.

The world is no longer what it used to be; we are now intricately connected as global citizens without borders and there really should be no place for racism and bigotry anymore. Right now, there is still no cure for COVID-19 disease and scientists are busy searching for a vaccine. With the devastating effect of the deadly virus on human race, why should the colour of another man’s skin matter? The expectation is that technology as the new currency of the world will minimise racial tensions so that we can all live in peace and harmony – it will definitely be a better world.

Having unmasked their evil and racist intentions by killing Floyd in broad daylight, what is the gain of Chauvin and his colleagues? His horrific death triggered a paroxysm of grief across the world as news networks continued to beam shocking footages of Floyd showing how Chauvin pinned him down to the pavement. The white community in America needs to stand up against mindless racist attacks sweeping across the country.

President Donald Trump described Floyd’s death as a sad day for America and he has ordered the US Justice Department to investigate the tragic death. Although President Trump told the media that the riots on the streets of Minnesota were a “bad thing”, he agreed that Floyd’s death was a “shocking” event. Trump should have added that this was one death too many. The FBI and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) are also reportedly investigating the incident but Floyd is gone, and gone forever. Even when video evidence shows police brutality and malicious attacks on black people in America, the officers are usually not held to account; all they get is a slap on the wrist.

Floyd’s death revealed the desperate and wicked nature of the police officers; these are evil men masquerading as law enforcement officers and they should go back to where they belong: the pit of hell and rot away there. Chauvin and his colleagues deserve no mercy; they are only fit for maggots and vultures. They will die slowly and experience the kind of pain they inflicted on Floyd. The world is better off without them. Floyd’s death not only reduces the chances of improved racial relations in America, it takes away the essence of our humanity.

Floyd’s family is asking for justice. Good people of the world are also demanding for justice. Watching Philonese, Floyd’s brother, during a CNN New Day interview was an emotional torture for me. I was overwhelmed with my emotions. “These officers should be arrested right now, the people want justice right now,” Philonese, sobbing and emotionally drained, told CNN. “They need to be convicted and get the death penalty,” Philonese said. On her part, Bridgett Floyd, the deceased’s sister, told ABC’s Good Morning America programme that “those guys need to be put in jail because they murdered my brother”. George Floyd’s girlfriend, Courtney Ross, told CNN: “My baby cannot die in vain.”

The riots in Minneapolis – a city with a population of about 430,000 people — over Floyd’s death became widespread and dangerous prompting Minnesota governor, Tim Walz, to invite the National Guard to arrest the situation. At a news conference, Jacob Frey, the Mayor of Minneapolis, said being black in America should not be a death sentence. He expressed his shock and outrage by asking: Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?” He added: “If you had done it, or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now”. Interestingly, Minnesota is having its first black police chief. He is Medaria Arradondo and apart from apologising over Floyd’s death, he wasted no time in firing the four police officers. That is a symbolic gesture but it is not enough. The officers should face criminal charges and prosecuted for the murder of Floyd. Justice would be served only when the officers are convicted and sent to jail.

Racial tension in America has an enduring history dating back to the days of civil rights movements and the fight for equality and social justice. The late Martin Luther King Jr was an American Minister and frontline activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until he was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, when he was only 39 years old. Before his death, King Jr fought to end racial discrimination and segregation in the United States. He believed in non-violent activism and his goal was equal rights and racial equality. King Jr is remembered for his famous speech, “I Have a Dream” where he admonished racists that the content of our character is more important than the colour of our skin.

The fight for racial equality must continue in America so that Martin Luther King Jr and other civil rights activists who also lost their lives would not have died in vain. The question on everyone’s lip is: “”Who will be next black victim after George Floyd?” Unfortunately, every black man is a potential victim. White police officers enjoy profiling black people for the flimsiest of excuses. Can the white men in uniform wipe out the black population in America? I don’t think so. After each death, life goes on without consequences in America that is supposed to be a country of equal opportunities. Bakari Sellers, an African American lawyer, CNN contributor and author of “My Vanishing Country”, says Americans can fight racism differently if white kids are taught useful lessons early in life on anti-racism. White lives matter. Black lives matter, too.

Braimah is a public relations consultant and marketing strategist based in Lagos ([email protected])

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