What a sad day for America. I am disgusted and infuriated, not just by the murder of George Floyd, but even more so by the destruction that the ignorant mobs across the country are wreaking throughout nearly every major city. Their actions are not making America better and they certainly do not serve any real idea of justice, since the poor minority business owners are most likely wondering how justice has been served by the destruction of their businesses, burnt to the ground by frenzied, crazed, senseless mobs.
They’d better be careful how they move forward that some brand of their own vigilante justice isn’t meted out on them in kind. They are only pushing this nation further into a pit of despair, that cannot end well for anyone, creating end results whose cost and damage will harm large segments of America for the next decade, if not longer.
This may well be a sign of things to come, just as I have warned of late, and an exponential increase in civil disobedience and violence over the next 10 to 15 years, regardless of who is president. The Communist Party USA, Black Lives Matter and Antifa have learned their lessons well, and the good and decent Americans will pay the price for not pushing back hard enough and soon enough against their anti-American ideology.
The riots are an article within themselves, so, while I make some mention of them here and incorporate them into this piece, the primary focus of this piece is how a good man was killed for doing nothing more than hanging out in his car and possibly accidentally passing a phony $20 bill at a convenience store. Even if he knew he was passing phony money, it shouldn’t have been a death sentence.
“It doesn’t matter whether #GeorgeFloyd was an upstanding member of society. It doesn’t matter whether blacks commit a disproportionate share of violent crimes. There is no excuse for the police to squeeze the life out of an unresisting individual. Period!” ~ Dinesh D’Souza
No one finds justice served in the wake of any horrific, terrible tragedy, by burning their cities and towns down around them in the name of “peaceful protest”. Justice is not served by ignoring the due process of the law for police officers who have abused their authority and power, in a manner that can only be described as evil, no matter how justified one might believe one’s self to be in acting to mete out immediate, self-gratifying, vigilante justice. And justice absolutely was not served on Memorial Day, May 25th 2020, when a police officer ripped forty-six year old George Floyd, from the backseat of a police cruiser, and threw him to the ground and restrained him, with a known deadly hold, and pinned him by the neck until he was choked unconscious and died, as surrounding witnesses begged and pleaded for his life.
Floyd was an ex-convict who served five years stemming from an aggravated assault conviction in 2007, but he was trying to turn his life around, as seen in an old video, where he urges the youth of America to reject gun violence. At one point, Floyd states: “Our young are clearly lost, man, clearly lost, man. I don’t even know what to say anymore. You youngsters just going around bursting guns in crowds, kids getting killed.”
Floyd, 46, grew up in Houston, Texas, where he was known as a gifted athlete and hip-hop artist, according to the Houston Chronicle, and he was well know by the patrons of Conga Latin Bistro, where he worked security. As Luz Maria Gonzalez notes, “He’d keep us safe there”. On Tuesday, the restaurant shared a photo of Floyd in his blue security uniform, with the caption, “We’ll always remember you”.
George Floyd was a “gentle giant” and helpful man by all accounts, and sadly, the taking of his life, has left a little six year old girl without her father.
Floyd’s death came, after he supposedly “resisted” officers and was placed in handcuffs. But subsequent evidence has shown that he was not resisting or being violent, and he was not armed. He was first approached, around 8:00 pm, by four Minneapolis police officers — Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and Alexander Kueng — who answered a call to investigate a possible forgery attempt and a counterfeit $20 dollar bill. What followed, at least in part, was captured in a video, that has exploded across social media sites, made by a young woman, Darnella Frazier, who was standing nearby outside the Cup Foods Market.
There on the corner of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue South, Officer Derek Chauvin is seen pressing his knee into George Floyd’s neck for nine long minutes, with Floyd’s face pressed so hard into the pavement his nose begins bleeding. And Floyd tearfully pleads with Chauvin: “Please, please, please, I can’t breathe. Please, man.”
“You got him down, man! Let him breathe at least” said one bystander in the background.
Someone asks, “You’re going to just sit there with your knee on his neck?”
One alarmed citizen exclaims, “Bro, he’s not even f###ing moving! Get off his neck!”
Another asks, “Did you kill him?”
Floyd told the officers he could not breathe twelve times, including within the first few seconds of the video. Floyd said, “I’m about to die … they’re gonna kill me”, and called out for his mother. Approximately four minutes into the video, he lost consciousness, stopped breathing and his body went limp. Forty seconds later witnesses were screaming that he was unresponsive. At least sixteen times bystanders begged the officers to take Floyd’s pulse. And all they received in return was a hard, cold, depraved indifference to a man’s life draining out beneath them.
Each time a concerned individual attempted to get Officer Tou Thao to check Floyd’s vitals or to stop Chauvin from choking him any further, Thao would become aggressive and combative and simply turn away from their pleas, exhibiting the same depraved indifference to a man’s life being snuffed out there on the pavement. Thao has previously had police brutality charges leveled against him, in 2017; the case settled out of court to the tune of $25,000.
Ms Frazier told the Washington Post: “The police killed him, bro, right in front of everybody. He was crying, telling them like, ‘I can’t breathe’, and everything. … They killed this man.”
On Wednesday, May 27th, Bridgett Floyd, sister to George, said: “I would like for those officers to be charged with murder because that’s exactly what they did. They murdered my brother. He was crying for help.”
Representing the Floyd Family, Attorney Ben Crump observed: “It’s a ‘I can’t breathe’ again case in 2020, and it’s worse than Eric Garner in many ways because you hear the people even pleading with them, ‘Please get your knee off his neck. Have some humanity. This is a human being.'”
I have very nearly stated the exact words as Angela Stanton-King, Alveda King’s goddaughter, who tweeted: “Why didn’t someone stop George Floyd’s death? They should have fought at that pivotal moment. Instead of just standing there watching.” That was the time they should have been raising unholy hell, not a day later, not two and three days later and not against their own community.
Addressing the use of the knee on a suspect’s neck, Mylan Masson, a former Minneapolis police officer in charge of training, noted that once the officer has the individual under control, the hold is to be released. It is used until the threat has stopped. Floyd represented no threat whatsoever to anyone, as he lay prone on the ground in cuffs.
According to the Star-Tribune, George Kirkham, professor emeritus at the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University, said that placing the knee on a suspects neck is seldom taught in police academies anymore. The move has been acknowledged as risky and capable of causing brain death in a matter of a few minutes.
Water boils at 212 degrees, and in the aftermath of what can only be described as a callous and indifferent murder of George Floyd, Minneapolis and St Paul are exploding and burning at 1500 degrees in a violent response and riots across the area, as protests elsewhere in America unfold, from Minneapolis to Memphis, Los Angeles to Louisville, and Denver to Atlanta, even seeing barricades breached near the White House. Somewhere shortly before 9:00 CST, on May 29th, the 88th Precinct in New York came under attack by protesters, with police cruisers destroyed and multiple fires set, as reported by Bernie Kerik, former New York City Police Commissioner, to Fox News.
And, in fact, one of the four police officers, Derek Chauvin, was just arrested today, May 29th, and charged with third-degree murder/ manslaughter, but shortly afterwards, Judge Andrew Napolitano told Fox News that there was enough evidence seen through a horrendous, gut-wrenching, soul-searing video to warrant a charge of second degree murder.
Ms Stanton-King expressed her outrage, stating: “Choke a man to death with Your knee which we all know was intentional and you don’t get charged with 1st degree murder … How do he slide with just a manslaughter charge and 3rd degree murder?”
By Wednesday night, the situation had devolved to the point that Governor Tim Waltz and Mayor Jacob Frey called out the Minnesota National Guard to halt the violence that started around the 3rd Precinct Police Station, as protesters set fires and caused some massive damage to every business within a two block radius, according to CBS Minnesota. The 3rd Precinct had to be abandoned by the police and was soon overrun and completely destroyed by an angry mob.
More than one-hundred seventy businesses were also damaged and looted in the St Paul and “Twin Cities” area on Thursday, as the protests escalated. According to the Pioneer Press, numerous fires were set by large crowds across the city, and St Paul’s Mayor Melvin Carter noted that “the anger, the anguish, the sadness, the rage that we’re seeing in the community, it’s understandable.”
Disgusting and disturbing doesn’t even begin to describe what is occurring, as the left-wing interlopers of Antifa, anti-American fascists, are seen urging the destruction further, and young blacks are destroying their own neighborhoods and the very businesses owned and operated by their fellow black minority brethren and other minorities too.
One surely must wonder where was a similar outrage and calls to allow due process to take its course, and where were the riots, when Minneapolis Police Officer Mohammed Noor murdered Justine Damond. It’s hard not to miss the incongruity and hypocrisy of the views of the protesters, rioters and their apologists; and, with that said, the video evidence in the Floyd case is so damning that Chauvin’s arrest within four days time was one-hundred percent the right call, however, the charge may need to be revisited as all the evidence unfolds in the coming days.
Floyd’s family released a public call for an end to the violence, while also thanking all those who have actually been protesting peacefully. Speaking to the unrest, Courteney Ross, George’s girlfriend of three years, said, “I am heartbroken.”
Ross continued as she spoke with the Star Tribune: “Waking up this morning to see Minneapolis on fire would be something that would devastate Floyd. He loved the city. He came here [from Houston] and stayed here for the people and the opportunities. … He was about love and peace. … I want people tp protest in a peaceful way.”
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman is pursuing the murder charge against Chauvin and investigating deeper to see what charges might be forthcoming in regards to the other officers, who seemed to exhibit a disturbing and marked indifference to what was transpiring right in front of them. President Trump and Attorney General William Barr are also actively monitoring the case, and U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald and FBI Special Agent in Charge Rainer Drolshagen will be conducting the federal investigation. And, in the meantime, as of May 28th, Freeman has acknowledged that all four officers involved in Floyd’s murder are not cooperating with the investigation and are pleading their 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Now, newly released reports, by Anna Lastra and Eric Rasmussen, indicate that there exists a high probability that Chauvin, who has had 18 complaints of police abuse placed against him during his nineteen year career, knew Floyd from the El Nuevo Rodeo Nightclub, where they both had previously worked security for Maya Santamaria. According to Santamaria, Chauvin worked there for 17 years, as outside security, while Floyd worked as inside security. This certainly should be raising some eyebrows and demanding an intense bit of scrutiny and deeper investigation.
Some have suggested that we need to know what happened in the hour before the video was made, but it doesn’t really matter. Even if Floyd had allegedly committed a bank robbery or a murder in that time frame, police all across the nation take down and capture violent murderers everyday without killing them in the process.
Yes, most police officers are outstanding, good and decent and honorable men and women, and they normally have a rough job and are asked to do unimaginably tough things, as they carry out their duty to “protect and serve” the community, that has hired them and where they usually also live. That same duty also extends to suspects, especially suspects in non-violent crimes, and especially when a suspect is cooperating and not resisting, as was the case with George Floyd. Their duty demands that they subdue and arrest suspects, in such a case, without taking the person’s life in the process.
Tragic as this case is, it still is not a free license to loot and destroy, simply because people are angry, and not one single criminal looter should be given a pass from any misplaced sense of justice, to assuage the outrage that may be genuinely felt by many, since many other outraged citizens have, in fact, expressed themselves angrily, loudly and peacefully.
At the same time, these police officers who set themselves up as judge, jury and executioners of George Floyd must pay for their gross negligence, their lack of professionalism and compassion, and their inexcusable depraved indifference to the distress Floyd’s mind and body experienced, as he knew his death was imminent. Not only did they prevent a female EMT from trying to save Floyd’s life, but for nearly 5 long minutes after warnings from witnesses, Chauvin kept his knee pressed on his windpipe, as all the officers knew Floyd was unconscious, was not breathing and that his body had gone limp. If the witnesses could so readily see that Floyd was dying, the officers had to have also known as well, and yet, they denied him oxygen, never attempted CPR, never took his pulse and never tried to save his life. The level of inhumane treatment in this case that took George Floyd’s life demands criminal charges for the other officers involved and prosecutions that end with hefty prison sentences for all four officers.
These officers failed to live up to anything remotely associated with simply being a good human being. Any further revelations will not change the simple truth, that with just a little more care and a sense of urgency and some common sense, one check of Floyd’s vitals at the first sign of distress, George Floyd would still be alive. Even sadder, it seems the price of a man’s life today sets at twenty dollars.
May 30, 2020
~ The Author ~
Justin O. Smith has lived in Tennessee off and on most of his adult life, and graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 1980, with a B.S. and a double major in International Relations and Cultural Geography – minors in Military Science and English, for what its worth. His real education started from that point on. Smith is a frequent contributor to the family of Kettle Moraine Publications.