George Perry Floyd was a 46-year-old African American born in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He was a father to 2 daughters, aged 6 and 22 years old. He had even lost his recent job due to the “stay-home-order” during the COVID-19 pandemic instructions by the government. He was known for being a friendly and kind-hearted person by his family and friends.
George Floyd was never a trouble making individual, he was actually a rather sporty person as he played basketball and football in his high school (Yates High School). He even brought them a championship as he was a high caliber player. He then joined a dance crew called the “Screwed Up Click”. He was always caught up with work or any other activities and never had any issues with the police.
Living in the United States of America, being an African American or a “black” person was often seen as a disadvantage. As in the US, “White Superiority” is evident and while many are ashamed about it, some are proud of it. Being coloured in the US was something that meant being treated badly, not given equal rights and even being treated differently all because of your skin colour! Some extreme examples are that black people were not allowed in certain stores such as jewelry and high fashion stores as they were stereotyped to be robbers and poor people.
Stereotyping is another type of racism as it forces people to form some sort of impression and persona about coloured people. Due to this going on for decades, riots, campaigns and movements had barely any impact. Unfortunately, no matter how much it is being focused, racism cannot be fully eradicated due to the ‘mindsets’ of a certain group of people. The George Floyd incident was an example of how white superiority is a major issue in the US.
George Floyd had passed on while being arrested by an officer. Floyd was lying next to the vehicle handcuffed, with a police’s knee on his neck. Floyd was not restricting the arrest but was continuously pinned on his neck which led to his unfortunate death.
The officer who was responsible for the death of George Floyd was Chauvin. Despite multiple pleas for help and saying he could not breathe, Chauvin had his knee pinned on the unarmed George Floyd’s neck. Floyd showed no signs of retaliating and posed not threat to anyone at the scene.
Chauvin was not an officer with the cleanest of records. Over the years in the force, he had over 18 complaints filed against him and he was also involved in several shooting cases. Of which, one of them was fatal. He had not been displaying the true values of a police officer and what he did to Floyd was uncalled for and showed his true colours.
There were speculations that both Floyd and Chauvin both worked at the same Latin Nightclub as security guards and had overlapping shifts. Whether or not they knew each other personally was still unknown. Chauvin took advantage of his appointment as a police officer to assert his authority. He used his ‘power’ to hurt an unarmed person and claimed to be ‘doing his job’.
Chauvin was not alone. With him were three other officers, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Keung. They were all involved in the arrest and murder of George Floyd. Apart from Chauvin, Tou also took center stage as he was often seen away from the incident attending to the bystanders and passersby. In the CCTV Footage, Tou was seen arguing with the public and defending the actions of his fellow colleagues towards the helpless George Floyd. Despite realising that George was not resisting arrest, unarmed, posed not threat to the 4 officers and was crying out for help because he could not breathe, Tou did nothing to stop his colleagues. Tou was aware of the risks but did absolutely nothing.
Officer Tou Thao also had a bad record as an officer as he was previously sued by a man who claimed that Tou and another officer had used excessive force and brutality against him. This included actions such as punching, kicking and even kneeing the man’s face and body parts. This caused the man to suffer from several broken teeth and severe bruising which caused trauma to him. This is another great example of showing how these two officers used their ‘power’ and ‘authority’ against innocent civilians.
What actually caused this entire situation?
A report was made on 25 May after Floyd had gone into a store called “Cup Foods” to buy a pack of cigarettes. The cashier assumed that the $20 bill Floyd used was counterfeit and hence when on to call the police. This assumption was made because of the fact that he is a coloured man, the cashier may have thought he was trying to cheat the store. Some felt that the cashier was just suspicious based on her own judgement whether it be due to his skin colour or not.
The police arrived at the scene and pulled a gun out immediately. They forced Floyd out of his car and handcuffed him. Floyd, who was innocent, refused being handcuffed and tried to resist. However, he fell over and landed right beside the police car. The two other officers immediately held onto his legs and hands while officer Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd’s neck.
Floyd was struggling and was continuously yelling that he was unable to breathe and was suffocating, but that did not bother Chauvin at all. He refused to give in and constantly had his knees on Floy’s neck. Floyd repeatedly said, “I Can’t Breathe” but officers kept replying to him by saying, “You are talking fine”.
After 8 minutes of choking Floyd with his knee, he continued to choke him even after realising that Floyd had passed out for two minutes. Chauvin ignored his fellow officer even after he tried to look for a pulse on Floyd but could not find one. Despite knowing that Floyd had passed on, Chauvin still refused to take his knees of Floyd’s neck.
In their defense, Floyd had several medical problems such a coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. They felt that he passed on due to these complications and not due to him being choked for so long.
The actions of these officers were unnecessary. Not only did that take away the life of an innocent man, but they also took away the life of someone’s father. The situation could have been settled without any force or without anyone getting hurt. It could have been settled verbally and if they are really suspicious about the $20 bill, they could have gotten it checked easily.
A tweet by Mark McCoy, a 44-year-old professor wrote, “George Floyd and I were both arrested for allegedly spending a counterfeit $20 bill. For George Floyd, a man my age, with two kids, it was a death sentence. For me, it is a story I sometimes tell at parties. That, my friends, is White privilege.” This was completely a case of racism towards the Black Community. The exact ‘crime’ committed by a white man was just an arrest, but it was a death sentence for a black man. Being white saved his life.
Racism is real.