Any war against humanity can never be won in the eyes of the Almighty!
On May 25, 2020, the mere existence of humankind got questioned yet again. An unarmed black man named George Floyd was man slaughtered under the wrath of four white police officers in Minneapolis. So, was it just an unintended execution of a suspect or a brutal slap in the face of the desegregation movement?
Many people are unaware of the details of this event that literally shook the age-old trust of individuals in police forces.
The 46-year old George Floyd, went to a local store to buy cigarettes. After George paid for the goods, the store employees suspected the $20 bill given by George to be counterfeit. They demanded him to return the articles but he refused to do so. This case reached the police when the employees dialed 911 and fueled the incident with many false and unnecessary allegations. Soon enough, two police officers, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas K. Lane reached the store and took Floyd under arrest. While attempting to get Floyd into the police car, Floyd told them that he was extremely claustrophobic and resisted sitting in the car.
After 5 minutes, two more officers arrived at the scene, named Derek Michael Chauvin and Tou Thao. Chauvin took the command of the case in his hand. Together, they all tried to force Floyd into the car in spite of him stating that he couldn’t breathe. After a couple of minutes, they took him out of the car and he fell on the sidewalk but was still conscious. It was then, when the real torment started. Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck which caused him to suffocate. If that wasn’t enough, Kueng put force on his thorax and Lane kept his legs in place and all of this led him to suffocate. The videos shot by witnesses demonstrates the merciless treatment received by the man despite his continuous pleas.
Even after the ambulance arrived, Chauvin refused to lift his knee from Floyd’s throat. Only when the viewers suspected that Chauvin had suffocated Floyd to death, did he check his pulse and loaded him in the ambulance. No statements on Floyd’s condition were made until he was declared dead in the hospital’s emergency room.
The irony that all of this happened in front of the eyes of the public is a terrorizing feeling itself. Who would have thought that a man who went out to a local store would end up being choked by a group of racists who paradoxically were supposed to protect him according to their stated duty!
Well, this was unfortunately not the first time when racism has blinded the protectors of law. Several cases of assault by white officers have been witnessed by the world in the last years.
Case study: Eric Garner (2014)
Eric Garner, a 44-year old African-American man was being questioned by the police about illegal selling of cigarettes on July 17, 2014. He denied the claims and told the officers that he was frustrated of being harassed. The police officers tried to arrest him by force. In the unintended fight, a NYPD police officer named Daniel Pantaleo choked Garner which led to his demise. This incident paved the way for protests all over the country and the morals and the liberty of police officers were highly questioned.
Pantaleo and another officer involved in the death were demoted to desk duty. Justice can’t be seen to a far extent in this judgement.
Case study: Alton Sterling (2016)
Alton Sterling, a 37-year old black man was shot by a white police officer on 5th July, 2016 in Louisiana. An anonymous caller informed the police about a shooting that had taken place outside a store. He claimed that a man in a red shirt is threatening people with a gun. Alton Sterling had started keeping a gun to avoid the robberies that had been incurred by CD sellers then. The police officer shot Sterling on the spot after he tried to reach for his gun that was in his pocket. The owner of the store later conveyed that Sterling was not the one menacing the people.
Alton Sterling had a 5-year criminal record which, the police officer was not aware of when he killed him. Despite this fact, his criminal-record was used against him! After the investigation, police officer was not fired or charged and his actions were claimed as reasonable and justifiable.
Case study: Philando Castile (2016)
On 6th July, 2016, an African-American man, Philando Castile was driving with his wife and a 4-year old daughter in Minnesota. He was stopped by a white police officer named Jeronimo Yanez. He was asked for his license and car registrations. Castile informed the officer that he had a licensed firearm. On hearing this, Yanez ordered him to not take it out but Castile tried to do so anyways.
After a minor verbal brawl, the police officer shot seven bullets on him, five of which successfully hit him in critical body parts. He died a painful and unjustifiable death after being taken to a nearby hospital.
The court liberated Jeronimo Yanez of all the charges claiming that they felt that he was an honest man. He was fired from his duty shortly after. Was the court's decision rational?
The video shot by Castile’s wife spread like a wildfire all over the sphere of the Internet. This racist event led to national and local protests all over the world. Protesters brutally questioned the legitimacy of US laws.
In all of these xenophobia events, justice was not served, to say the least!
The recent shootings of African-Americans, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor have enraged individuals all over the globe. There have been violent public protests and rallies demanding justice and seizure of racist ideas.
Amidst this pandemic, a mass of celebrities and social media personalities joined forces to execute a peaceful and online protest named, Blackout Tuesday.
Various television and radio outlets produced blacked out and silent content. It was programmed for a duration of 8 minutes 46 seconds symbolizing the time period for which George Floyd was choked by Derek Chauvin.
On the social media platform Instagram, a massive bunch of celebrities posted a black square with a hashtag #blackouttuesday.
However, this is not a one-day protest or just an act for martyring the late. It has a deeper symbolism to it. The importance of lives cannot be determined on the foundation of someone’s skin color. This practice is inhuman and immoral on many levels. However, this differentiation cannot be eliminated in a few days, we have to fight tirelessly in order to bring this change.
“The United States Department of Justice released a statement in coordination with the FBI, stating that George Floyd’s death case is their top priority.”
Whether the justice will be served or black lives would yet again get neglected by the US law is for us to witness!
The practice of racism and apartheid may have left the books of law, but these events prove that they are still very much alive in the hearts and minds of people.