It’s 2020, so let’s be real. The disease of racism has plagued this country since it’s origin, and that hasn’t changed even as we become more “woke.” Black people are still wracked with anxiety wondering if their lives will be taken senselessly by the hands of the police, and police officers haven’t done much of anything to address this fear. The country has been heading towards a breaking point for years, but most intensely after George Floyd recently died in Minneapolis police custody.
Floyd was arrested Monday May 25, after a deli employee dialed 911 accusing Floyd of using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes. Viral photos and videos of the arrest show after a mere 17 minutes, Floyd was pinned to the ground by three police officers. Most visibly depicted, officer Derek Chauvin is seen pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. After Floyd was left unconscious Chauvin continued to restrain him, even for a full minute as the paramedics arrived. Since Floyd’s death, all four officers involved in the arrest have been fired, while Chauvin faces murder and manslaughter charges.
As shattering as George Floyd’s death is, he joins a number of black people taken too soon at the hands of police. On March 13th, 26 year old Breonna Taylor was shot 8 times by Louisville police while inside her apartment. According to a lawsuit filed by Taylor’s family, officers entered her home looking for a suspect who did not live in Taylor’s complex and was already detained. Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker was also in the apartment and shot back at officers who attempted to enter without announcing themselves. Walker was arrested facing charges of first-degree assault and attempted murder of a police officer. No officers have been charged in Taylor’s death.
In response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed, and more, protestors took to the streets across the world. Several businesses stretching from Santa Monica, CA to Boston to Atlanta were looted and raided, with a police precinct in Minneapolis being set on fire.
As black people everywhere feel the heaviness and trauma in the following days, many continue to protest and utilize their voices in outrage. As calls to #saytheirname continue to rise, and police and government officials fail to hold their departments accountable, the turmoil in the country will continue to build.