George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man died in Minneapolis last Monday after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by Derek Chauvin, a white police officer. The witnesses have captured the video of the officer pinning Mr. Floyd by his neck behind the police car, and Mr. Floyd was heard repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe,” in the video.
Floyd was sitting in his car across the street near a store called the Cup Foods. Two employees from cup foods confront Floyd and his companions about an alleged counterfeit $20 bill he had just used in their store to buy cigarettes. The employees of the store demanded the cigarettes but they went empty-handed. After some time the employees of the store called the police, and according to the 911 transcript, an employee says that, “Floyd used fake bills to buy cigarettes and that he is drunk and is not in control of himself.” Soon the first police vehicle arrives there, the officer approaches to Floyd and within seconds. Officer Thomas Lane pulls his gun and orders Floyd to put his hand on his wheel. Again after few seconds they pulled him out of the car and got his hands cuffed behind.
The police believed in the complaint which stated that Floyd was drunk but he did act violently and he seemed to be in distress already. After six minutes Floyd is taken back to their vehicle, he says he is Claustrophobic and refuses to enter the car, turning his head addressing to the police officers several times. Soon the second police car arrives and Chauvin gets involved in getting Floyd into the car. Floyd gets in the backseat, but suddenly Chauvin pulls him from the backseat onto the pavement with his face down. That’s when two witnesses started recording the video, where it showed that three officers applied pressure to his neck, torso, and legs. After innumerable pleads from Floyd to leave him, telling the officers he can’t breathe at least 16 times in less than 5 minutes, the officer kept on pinning his neck applying pressure. Chauvin kept his knee on his neck for a total of 8 minutes and 46 seconds, according to the complaint filed against him. Floyd was taken to the nearby hospital and was pronounced dead. Soon videos started getting viral over social media. The city quickly fired all four officers and Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and second- degree manslaughter.
The Country on Violence, Stop RACISM
Protests in the name of the March, riots, violence, and loots have broken out in the city from coast to coast. Police are packing every street in the USA. A row of cars burning in Grand Rapids Michigan fires burning near the White House and even in the Church of the Presidents; at least 44 cities have established curfews overnight. Such riots and violence have never been seen since the assassination of Martin Luther King.
The death of George Floyd might have sparked these nationwide protests but it is by no means the only reason for them. George Floyd is the latest victim as of now if we take a lookback Eric Gardner, also pleaded “I can’t breathe”, two officers in New York have been brutally killed. Freedie Gray a 25-year-old guy was killed in police custody in Baltimore to Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old guy who was fatally shot on New Year’s Day on a Train Platform in Oakland, all this anger this exhaustion from all these past incidents fuelled up together and resulted in a night of unrest all across the country.
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National Guard troops were activated in 21 states in Washington DC to control crowds and looting and the District of Columbia to help to keep the peace. Protests broke out in 140 cities across the country over the weekend. A weekend of unrest amid calls for a change and a plea for peace. Overnight curfews went into effect across the country and had little effect in some major cities. Tragedy narrowly averted in downtown Minneapolis screams as a tanker truck moves straight towards a crowd of peaceful protestors on Interstate 35, the crowd quickly descended upon the truck, the driver was identified by the police and is under custody now, no protestors were injured.
Similarly, in Boston, the Boston’s stations WCVB live cameras captured an SUV ramming straight into a group of protestors, where several people got run over by the car, though no one was badly hurt in the incident, but around seven officers were hospitalised. This weekend in the country the crowds in city after the city got riotous, the chaos started outside the White House, where protestors converged for the third night, where some were shooting of fireworks and has set buildings and cars on fires including the historic St. John’s Church in Philadelphia, they smashed up storefronts. The protestors threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police. Police have arrested at least 4100 people across 22 cities in just 3 days. In New York, 345 protestors were arrested on Saturday night including the daughter of New York City’s Mayor Bill DeBlasio.
The crowd broke out in protest of the death of George Floyd by Officer Derek Chauvin who is now arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. In Seattle, a police officer was seen with his knee on a protestor decrying this exact behaviour, before another officer pushes his knee away but continues to restrain him. In Atlanta, two officers fired for excessive use of force police releasing graphic body cam video. on two college students were arrested, when officers approached a car breaking the glass and flattering tires using stun guns and violently dragging them out, it is not clear what led up to the arrest but officers were beginning to enforce a 9 PM curfew. At the time violence and looting overshadowed, many peaceful protests in many places like New York where many took a moment of silence, in respect in Bellevue Washington, the police chief speaking in support of the protestors that, “We are with you we are not against you”. All this happened amid the pandemic that has claimed lives of around 10, 03,000 American marchers wanting their voices to be heard regardless.
“We will vote you out in November”
Hollywood artists like Taylor Swift, Cardi B, and more stars are speaking out amid the George Floyd riots. Taylor Swift called out President Donald Trump for threatening violence against the protestors tweeting in part “After stoking the fires of White supremacy and racism your entire presidency, you have the nerve to feign moral superiority before threatening violence?” “When looting the stars is shooting the stars??” “We will vote you out in November.” Many celebrities are speaking out about the current injustice of Floyd’s death, including Miguel, Kelly Rowland, Kim Kardashian, and Tracee Ellis Ross.
The reason for the protest today is so many people are hurt, angry, and broken because of the feeling that the black lives are devalued in the US.
Black Lives Matter Movement, 2013
In 2013 after the vindication of Trayvon Martin, who was fatally shot in Florida the year before, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) matter started trending on social media, a movement against systemic violence against the African American community. This movement achieved national fame in 2014 during a protest against the death ig Eric Garner and Michael Brown, the latter also being a case of a fatal police shooting. The movement was started by three African American women, expanded across the US, and invited public internationally. BLM is largely decentralized and doesn’t have a formal hierarchy. This movement has been criticised by alt-rights commentators in the US. Some of BLM’s opponents’ respondees with their campaigns like “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter.”