Plumes of smoke where flames once raged are flags in the sky that something is wrong. Fiery blazes sprouted through the night in Minneapolis, Thursday evening, where protestors set fire to local businesses like Target and to the Third Precinct police station in the wake of the senseless killing of George Floyd.
Floyd’s death has sparked nationwide outrage, and rightly so, as we the world watched another Black man utter the words “I can’t breath” before his untimely transition. Widely circulated video shows a white officer, Derek Chauvin, with his knee in Floyd’s neck as his life slips away and he begs for mercy. The footage is heartbreaking. Onlookers can be heard saying, “He is human, bro.” Floyd died being arrested for an alleged petty crime. Eric Garner, who was killed in a similar manner, muttered the same last words proving the scale of humanity remains tipped in favor of everything except Black lives.
We awoke, this morning, to tweets from the commander-in-charlatan, who was censored by Titter for inciting violence. “When the looting starts the shooting starts,” he wrote. The racist quote cloaked in politics was originally stated by Miami’s police chief, Walter Headley in 1967. the very statement contributed to the race riots of that era. And here we are, today, faced again with the unforgettable stanza — how unbecoming. Trump labeled the Minneapolis protestors “thugs” despite calling the 2018 Charlottesville neo-Nazi’s “very fine people” — one of whom plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protestors, claiming the life of Heather Heyer and leaving 19 others injured. Very fine people indeed.
Like the 1992 LA riots that caused a reported billion dollars in damage, Black people have taken to the streets to make their voice heard and demand recourse for the lives of the slain. Because nothing else seems to stir those in charge more than disturbing the peace in their pockets.
It’s easy to place the protestors as the central figures of the problem and avoid blaming the justice system for their blatant disregard for Black lives whether it be through systemic racism, the prison-industrial complex or physically apprehending a suspect with an illegal chokehold.
If looting is more disruptive to you than watching a Black man loose his life over a victimless allegation, or for selling cigarettes on the corner like Eric Garner had been before being apprehended, you too are part of the problem.
“The National Guard has arrived on the scene. They are in Minneapolis and fully prepared. George Floyd will not have died in vain. Respect his memory!!!,” Trump tweeted moments ago.
Tensions continue to rise in Minneapolis as the National Guard plows into Minneapolis and no charges have been brought against the four police officers involved with Floyd’s death. Though they have been fired, they should be brought up on criminal charges.
“They murdered my brother. He was crying for help,” Floyd’s sister Bridgett Floyd said calling for justice for her fallen sibling.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey pleaded for peace after protests intensified for a second night leaving Lake Street and Hiawatha in soot and ashes.
“I believe in Minneapolis … I love Minneapolis,” Frey said in a press conference Thursday. He acknowledge the tense emotions of the Black community, saying that it is “not only understandable, it’s right — it’s a reflection of the truth that our black community has lived.” The mistreatment of Blacks is rife throughout our country’s history. Like Frey noted, it is “ingrained in our black community not just because of five minutes of horror, but 400 years.”
He added, “We must confront our shortcomings with both humility and hope. We must restore the peace so we can do this hard.”
Despite Frey’s passionate plea, a platoon guards the home Chauvin, whose knee has become a symbolic weapon and no arrests have been made. Chauvin reportedly has a long history of complaints against him during his 19-year career, over a dozen to be exact.
Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman, who is overseeing the investigation of the incident, is sifting through evidence. “My job in the end is to prove he violated a criminal statute. And there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge. We need to wade through all of that evidence and come to a meaningful decision and we are doing that to the best of our ability.”
Surveillance footage from the nearby restaurant supports eye witnesses’ testimonies that Floyd was not resisting arrest despite officer Chauvin’s claims. Donald Williams told CNN he was approaching the scene when he saw Floyd “panting for his life.”
When he questioned Chauvin, the officer responded, “he was resisting arrest.”
“I said, ‘officer, he’s not resisting arrest, you have your knee on him and you have handcuffs on him, he’s detained at this moment,'” Williams said.
The owner of the near-by restaurant, who released footage from his camera’s vantage point corroborated Willlams’ story.
“Did not see any resistance, not at all,” Rashad West told CNN’s Don Lemon.
Even if Floyd had resisted arrest, it wouldn’t justify the use of deadly force, like exhibited by Chauvin.
A petition on Change.org calling for justice for George Floyd has reached over 5 million signatures, making it the fastest-growing and largest U.S. petition in Change.org’s history.
There comes a point when one must ask themselves, is a Black life worth less than the goods Floyd allegedly tried to buy using “fake bills?” Is a Black life worth less than loosies, which Eric Garner was allegedly selling before being killed. How does a routine traffic stop result in the death of a law-abiding citizen like Sandra Bland? Did these people deserve to die? I’ll answer that for you — hell f*cking no.