Memorial Day is a time to spend reflecting on the fallen heroes who fought for our country's freedom. This year was a time when most people were staying home due to COVID-19. However, there was one person in particular who would leave the safety of his home. He would step out into the big, bad world only to be faced with some of the worst evil our country has dwelling within it.
The incident took place in Minneapolis, where officers were responding to a "forgery in progress." According to a police statement, Floyd was "sitting on top of a blue car and appeared to be under the influence." Once Floyd got down from the car, the report claims "he physically resisted officers." Although, a nearby restaurant's security footage of the arrest is now being circulated which doubts that claim. It's important to note that Floyd was unarmed.
Officers were able to get Floyd into handcuffs and said "he appeared to be suffering medical distress." Officers called an ambulance, however, they didn't seem that interested in preserving his life. One of the officers got Floyd laying on the ground and placed his knee on his neck. Floyd was begging the cop to step off and said he couldn't breathe. Onlookers were also pleading with the cops to give Floyd mercy. However, the officer in question didn't remove his knee until the ambulance arrived. By then, Floyd was unconscious. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
The disturbing incident was caught on video by an onlooker and is circulating online. When news of Floyd's death broke, a public outcry soon followed. Many users on social media were voicing their anger, fear, and heartbreak.
Celebrities were also vocal about the tragic loss of an innocent man.
One of those celebrities was Madonna, who posted the entire video on her Instagram with a tone-deaf caption. The caption rightly called out the problem our country is still facing regarding racism. However, she used the incident to make a statement about gun control. Madonna claimed that nobody should be allowed to have guns in America, not even police. The problem is, guns weren't a factor in Floyd's death.
Yes, many unarmed black men have died due to gunshots by police. However, this wasn't the time for Madonna to spread her political agenda. The officer didn't shoot Floyd, he suffocated him by kneeling on his neck. She also ended her post by saying, "fuck the police." I can only guess she was referencing the famous N.W.A. track.
It sounds like she's more interested in coming across like a bad-ass rebel than expressing remorse over what happened. Now is not the time to talk about gun control nor is it the time to bash all cops. There are several good cops who don't deserve to be placed in that category. We need the police. The good ones keep us safe. Those good ones still exist. We're going to get nowhere by generalizing about an entire group of people.
What we should be focusing on is changing the way the police department weeds out the bad ones.
In the wake of the incident, Mayor Jacob Frey said it was against department regulations for the officer to pin Floyd's head to the ground with his knee. The police department needs to figure out a way to spot those who clearly aren't taking this seriously. A total of four officers were involved in Floyd's death, all of whom were fired. That spells a problem with the police department's training process as far as I'm concerned.
I feel a simple firing isn't enough of a punishment for what happened and I'm not the only one. Floyd's family has echoed that sentiment while speaking to the media about what happened.
For those still wondering if racism was a motive for Floyd's murder, I believe it was. The cops had Floyd handcuffed when he was on the ground. Even if he did resist arrest at first, he wasn't able to resist anymore at that point. There was no reason the officers couldn't put Floyd in the car until the ambulance arrived. Their actions reeked of someone with a personal vendetta against him.
When a white officer acts in such a way while a black man is unarmed, not suspected of anything violent, and already handcuffed, you need to read between the lines. Not to mention that this isn't the first time something like this has happened. The amount of unarmed black men killed by white police officers is disturbingly high. The officers in question can't even use the self-defense argument.
There's no way anyone can justify their actions.
The sad part is, many are still trying to downplay the significance of this tragedy. Conservative commentator Candace Owens tweeted that more white people are killed by police officers annually than black people. Regardless of whether that's true or not, it doesn't negate the fact that there are white police officers who are racist towards black people.
Some people even say stories like this are being favored by the media to encourage a racial divide in the country. What about the many stories of unarmed black men wrongly killed by police that don't get blown up like this? There are many of them too.
We even have those who wonder why stories of black-on-black crime don't get as much attention. The simple answer is, racism isn't usually a motive in those cases. We hear about white-on-white crime and black-on-black crime all the time. However, when something has a racist motive, I believe it's being blown up so we can be aware of this issue. That will lead to more discussions which will lead to more understanding which will hopefully lead to progress.
Quite simply, If your reaction to a tragedy is to point out that another tragedy isn't getting more attention, you're the one with the problem.
What happened to George Floyd was unfair and unjust.
He didn't deserve to die and the officers responsible should get more than just a firing. His murder provided us with yet another example that racism is still strong as ever. I hope we all learn from this tragedy and move in a progressive direction as a result. Even though Floyd wasn't fighting for our country's freedom, hopefully, he will be seen as a fallen hero whose death was partially responsible for it.