WARNING: EXTREMELY DISTRESSING VIDEO
Minneapolis Police Officer Suffocates Black Man
Yesterday there was another example of the excessive force that police officers use on black people. A call was made to the police saying a man had attempted to forge something. Whatever it was he was forging, that’s a non-violent crime. The police found Mr. Floyd at his car and took him into custody. According to police, Mr. Floyd resisted arrest but as we’ve said before, this is a catch all charge that police use to justify their actions. Since it is so commonly used for any and everything, it’s unknown as to whether it was a legitimate charge.
What we do know, from the video, is that Mr. Floyd was handcuffed and an Anglo officer stayed kneeling on his neck for over 7 minutes. At first Mr. Floyd is begging for him to get off saying he can’t breathe. He is moving around some, that will no doubt be called resisting, but it is a normal response when the body is fighting to stay alive. After a while Mr. Floyd stops speaking and eventually stops moving, yet the officer continues to kneel on his neck for several more minutes. The onlookers are yelling at the officers, saying they are killing him. Rather than take any action to ensure Mr. Floyd’s well-being, the officers threaten the bystanders and the one kneeling on Mr. Floyd reaches for his mace.
Why Did the Officers Kill George Floyd?
There’s a lot that comes into play in situations like this. The first, foremost, and most obvious is systemic racism. It has been proven in study after study that white people perceive black people as more dangerous than everyone else. There is an unconscious belief that most black people are criminals or soon-to-be criminals. Black people are rarely assumed to be upstanding citizens. This racism allows officers to subconsciously justify an excessive use of force, definitely more force than they would use if the person was white.
Thin Blue Line
Then there is the thin blue line. We’ve all heard of it. Officers protecting officers. Law enforcement is a paramilitary organization. When officers go through training they are forced to act as a unit. No individuality. When one person does something wrong, the whole group gets punished. One for all and all for one. This mentality encourages the officers to cover for their fellow officers but if that’s not bad enough, it has a darker side. If an officer does report transgressions by a fellow officer, he will face the contempt of his co-workers. In their eyes, he broke the sacred bond of the brotherhood. (Gangs act like this too). He will no longer be trusted and may even be reviled. If he needs back-up other officers may slow walk their response, in some cases, they may not show up at all.
Training is a part of this equation also. How many times have we heard of a person being constrained, saying he can’t breathe yet the officers ignore his pleas and the man ends up dead? Officers are taught that if a person can speak, he can breathe. THIS IS FALSE! They need to stop teaching this. You can even hear one of the officers in the video make that false claim. Change.org has an article on this. It’s got a lot of information that explains why this is not true. I highly recommend people read this article and push law enforcement agencies to change their training.
Note: The officer is kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck but we can’t really tell where his other knee is. I suspect it’s on Mr. Floyd’s back. If that is the case then the officer is compressing Mr. Floyd’s lungs in addition to his neck, which would drastically affect Mr. Floyd’s ability to breathe.
And lastly, there’s personality. Officers are like anyone else. There are multiple different personality types. What I see in the officer kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck is arrogance. You’re not going to tell me what to do. I’m the law. You’re nothing. I’ll do whatever I want to do. Oh, you’re telling me to stop? Well, watch this. I’m going to do it even longer. That is the kind of mentality I see in that officer. Onlookers said Mr. Floyd was bleeding from his nose, they said he had stopped fighting so let him up, they said you’re killing him, they said he had stopped breathing. The officer ignored all of it, not making any effort to check on Mr. Floyd’s well-being. Arrogance, and the authority of a badge, is an extremely deadly combination.
Where We Are Now
All four officers who were at the scene have been fired. The police chief immediately contacted the FBI and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehensions. Both of those agencies are now investigating this case. This fast response, along with the outrage shown by the leaders of the community, will help to give people confidence that justice will be done. But they will need to release the names of the officers soon or that confidence will evaporate.
WARNING: EXTREMELY DISTRESSING VIDEO
A lot of the videos out have been altered. The video below shows the whole incident as it was captured; however, it has commentary at the beginning. The video of what was done to Mr. Floyd begins at the 4 minute 55 second mark.