Yet another black man was killed at the hands of police in the United States, sparking outrage and protests against what many perceive as another example of systemic racism. We look at a few reactions to a life that was taken too soon.
George Floyd, 46, was killed in police custody on 25 May 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Floyd, a black man, was suspected of using a forged $10 bill. But it was the white policeman who evidently rough handled Floyd, and then knelt on his neck on the street that were the events ultimately noticed by shocked bystanders who were filming the incident.
Floyd pleaded for his life for several minutes, but eventually fell silent. He was declared dead at the hospital where he was transferred after he became unresponsive. The police officers involved in his death were let go the day after he was pronounced dead.
Floyd’s death triggered another wave of protests that claim racism is alive and well in the United States. Other examples have been used to make this point, whether they have been other deaths at the hands of the police, or people who have experienced other smaller, but daily incidents.
In addition to sparking protests in Minneapolis, the incident has also resulted in a Twitter storm. A user calling himself A.T. The Ambassador pointed out that the country had been relatively peaceful during the coronavirus lockdown, except for the groups of white demonstrators who have been demanding for the economy to reopen, only for the George Floyd affair to take them back to bad times.
Boy I tell ya. The country re-opened and racism went and clocked in overtime hours.— A.T. The Ambassador 🇳🇬🏁 (@OhThatsAT) May 26, 2020
Black man with no gun ends up dead. White protestors go into state houses with long guns & AK-47s & aren’t even arrested.— Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II (@RevDrBarber) May 28, 2020
Activist and teacher, Zellie Imani, demanded that journalists investigate and publish the excessive force reports for the officers involved and responsible for George Floyd’s death, as quickly as they would a black victim’s arrest history.
I need journalists to release the fired Minneapolis officers’ excessive force reports with the same energy they release a Black victim’s arrest history. #GeorgeFloyd— zellie (@zellieimani) May 27, 2020
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay tweeted that the funds the Minneapolis Police Department receives from the government for training, have not perhaps been put to good use given they were still responsible for more than 13 times the deaths of black people than Caucasians.
The @MinneapolisPD has received $6.4 million in taxpayer dollars from the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services program, yet Black People are killed by MPD officers at 13.2 times the rate of Caucasians. #GeorgeFloyd— Ava DuVernay (@ava) May 27, 2020
Then there were those who advocated for an “an eye for an eye” response in order to make a point, rather than seeking peaceful protests, such as actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen.
The LOGICAL response to our oppressors’ aggression is to retaliate in a manner that is incongruous to the laws of this country. At this point peaceful protest is the ILLOGICAL course of action. #Catch22 Slavery might have “ended” but our hands are still tied. #GregoryFloyd pic.twitter.com/vUQGokySoE— Yahya Abdul-Mateen 2 (@yahya) May 27, 2020
The huge emotional reaction in Minneapolis at times has got out of hand. Fires and clashes broke out in the city and this made some people proud.
There were those who insinuated the protests were the work of AntiFa (anti-fascist) activists attacking shops with crowbars, who were ready to spring back onto streets thanks to “crowdfunding bail money for any comrades that may get arrested”.
This looks like antifa black bloc. Antifa accounts on social media are already crowdfunding bail money for any comrades that may get arrested. #Minneapolis #BlackLivesMatter #GeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/YlFzz3Xzbd— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) May 28, 2020
Model-turned-author Padma Lakshmi compared George Floyd’s killing to other instances of systemic racism. She made a direct reference to Amy Cooper, the woman who called the police on a black man who had asked her to put her dog on a leash the same day that Floyd was killed.
Online, Cooper is derisively referred to as “Karen” - the epitome of the privileged white woman.
If you’ve ever tried to call 911 because:— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) May 27, 2020
a Black person asked you to leash your dog
a Black family was having a barbecue
Black children were selling lemonade
a group of Black people were using the same gym as you
You are indeed racist ✅
Incidentally, Amy Cooper lost her job after a video of her altercation with Christian Cooper (no relation) surfaced in the media.
and he could have lost his life.— Sol Albe (@albe_sol) May 26, 2020
Taylour Peters of Brooklyn posted a photo of a sign that read, “White Silence is Violence”, noting that not much had changed since she took the photo in 2018.
The fact remains that George Floyd’s killing was not the first, nor will it be the last death of a black person at the hands of police violence.
Black Lives ALWAYS Matter— 재스민♡𐐪𐑂 °。 (@jasuumin) May 28, 2020
• I couldn’t draw much, but in memory to every innocent black life lost due to unjustifed and disgusting police behavior. Even typing these names saddened me so much. Please lets be their voice and fight for them. #BlackLivesMatter #GeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/A1yhg6QWgt