His name was George Floyd.
He had a daughter, age six.
He came to Minnesota for work from Houston, TX and had an attitude of forward momentum in improving his life. Floyd had a troubled past, but when he paid his debt to society after committing a robbery in Texas back in 2007, he made it his mission to start fresh. By all accounts, Big Floyd, as he was known by many people where he served as a security guard at the Congo Latin Bistro, was doing just that when COVID-19 hit and Governor Walz closed down businesses across the state.
Just two days ago, Floyd walked into a store and tried to pay for goods with an alleged “counterfeit $20”. The clerk called the Minneapolis Police Department, for a possible forgery. Even so, Floyd cooperated with police as they removed him from his car, handcuffed him, led him to the side of a building and had him sit down. His hands were bound and behind his back. He was not yelling, shoving or stumbling. Surveillance video clearly shows his passengers cooperated with the police in stepping back from the scene. Surveillance video shows Floyd cooperating as police led him to the squad car. How he fell to the ground or was pushed to the ground wasn’t entirely clear. We do know how it began and how it ended.
People have made claims that cooperating with the police saves lives and the justice system will provide due process. In this case, cooperation failed. Due process failed. The entire government system, politicians, officials, lawmakers, citizens who tolerate them, and the police failed.
The police played judge, jury and executioner on the street before Floyd had a chance to defend himself in a court of law. A man lost his life without any defense on the streets of Minneapolis from the people charged to serve and protect. A man expired under the knee of a cop and no one was able to challenge it safely. A father died, calling for his own mother, “I can’t breathe,” on his lips. When do we get to ask, don’t these officers deserve the same? No due process, no judge, no jury, just executioners.
When is it time for citizens to have a right to defend themselves against violent government officials and against violent law enforcement. When is it okay to physically challenge abuse and murder without the fear of death or prison when it’s committed by lawmakers who are equally complicit in the funding, training, and hiring of police officers, in passing the many laws that local police are unable to effectively enforce? When is it okay to beat or shoot a cop in self defense?
When is it okay to challenge the public, the government, and the police who continually fail to show good judgment and restraint in how POC citizens are treated day to day in Minnesota? Citizens yell, “It’s all white supremacists, it’s all Donald Trump.” Well, as a lifelong brown woman living in Minneapolis, MN, I know racism and violence has existed here for POCs every day, all day, of our lives. The possibility of violence and death lingers as thick as August humidity no matter who holds the White House.
When is it okay to fight back?
His name was George Floyd. He couldn’t breathe. He didn’t obtain his day in court. What cop deserves the same courtesy, what politician? A change is most definitely required and only the demands of the people will achieve it.
“No justice, no peace, prosecute the police.”
“Hands up, don’t shoot.”
“I can’t breathe.”