The Thing About George Floyd

George+Floyd%27s+brutal+treatment+at+the+hands+of+police+sparked+massive+protests+nationwide.++Photo+Credit%3A+Insider

George Floyd's brutal treatment at the hands of police sparked massive protests nationwide. Photo Credit: Insider

Natalie Burgos

 

As many of you have seen, either through social media or the news, the killing of George Floyd has caused a massive uproar in society. The debate concerning police brutality has been circulating the media for decades, however in recent events it’s become more heated than ever. The killing of George Floyd has made people from all walks of life stand up and have their voices be heard loud and clear. This isn’t the first instance where police brutality has shown up in American history, however the way the media and people seem to be approaching the subject has changed in a drastic manner, and this is for good reason.

To approach the situation, it would be best to address what happened between George Floyd and the Minneapolis Police on the night of Monday May 25th. George Floyd had the police called on him for paying with a fake $20 bill, which in an interview the store clerk later stated that Floyd might have not even known that the bill was fake,  nonetheless the police were called on him. The rest of the interaction between Floyd and the police was caught on security cameras, which showed two police officers approaching Floyd sitting on the sidewalk. The two officers handcuff Floyd, where it is seen that Floyd falls and the two officers walk him to the sidewalk where he can sit against the wall. The Minnesota Police Office later released a statement saying that Floyd had experienced medical distress and they had called an ambulance, however that does not excuse what they had done before that. A police officer is then later seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck as Floyd pleads out “ I can’t breathe,” bystanders soon show up and start recording. When Donald Williams, a bystander, asked why they were doing this to Floyd the police had said that he was “resisting arrest.” Through countless eyewitness accounts, many have come forward and said that this was simply not true and that Floyd was not resisting arrest at all. However, much of the controversy remains because the security cameras weren’t able to capture all of the events. The Minneapolis Police have refused to release any body cam footage.

What happened to Floyd is unfortunately not unique, his experience is strikingly similar to the killing of Eric Garner, another victim of police brutality in 2014. The unique thing about George Floyd is not what happened to him, it’s the world’s reaction. Since May 25th, the nation has collectively protested through every outlet to get justice for Floyd. On May 28, protesters gathered around the Minneapolis Police Department and set a nearby building ablaze, some of the protesters added to the fire by throwing things at the police officers, and by throwing fireworks into the flames. The thing about George Floyd is that people more than ever are now expressing their opinions about the matter, and it’s really made a lot of people engage in a very difficult discussion about the hard truth. That hard truth is that life isn’t easy for anyone, especially if someone looks or identifies as a minority. That hard truth is that something desperately needs to change. Police need to change their stereotypes of minorities, and minorities need to do the same for police. This is only the beginning of trying to find peace between the two groups, and with each protest, with each justice post on Instagram , and with each campaign, people’s voices get stronger, and we are one step closer to finding harmony and getting justice for George Floyd.

A piece of art used to spread awareness and push for justice for George Floyd. Credit: @shirien.creates

 

Sources:

“George Floyd Protests in Minneapolis: Live Updates.” The New York Times, 28 May 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/05/28/us/george-floyd-national-guard.html.

Gottbrath, Laurin-Whitney. “George Floyd Death: Pressure Mounts for US Officers to Be Charged.” USA News | Al Jazeera,  28 May 2020, www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/george-floyd-death-pressure-mounts-officers-charged-200528004535033.html.

Mahbubani, Rhea. “Surveillance Video of the Moments Leading up to George Floyd Being Pinned under a Policeman’s Knee Shows That He Didn’t Resist Arrest.” Insider, 28 May 2020, www.insider.com/surveillance-video-george-floyd-minneapolis-police-arrest-death-2020-5.

McArdle, Mairead. “New Video Shows George Floyd Cooperating with Officers during Arrest.” National Review,  28 May 2020, www.nationalreview.com/news/new-video-shows-george-floyd-cooperating-with-officers-during-arrest/.