Monday, May 25th of 2020, marks the day that a 46-year-old innocent black man was arrested and killed by four police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. That man was George Floyd.
George Floyd was arrested that Monday for allegedly buying cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. An employee who worked at the convenience store called 911 and told police officers that Floyd was using fake money to purchase an item.
After that call everything went downhill. Within seventeen minutes, following the first cop car arriving at the scene, George Floyd was pinned to the ground by three police officers. The last bit of life he had in that moment faded away.
It took 7 minutes and 46 seconds for George Floyd to die, and one of the police officers responsible for his death, Derek Chauvin, kept his knee on Floyd’s neck that whole time.
Multiple videos surfaced on the internet, showing the unfortunate moment that happened.
Chauvin is a white male, and, and, in the opinion of many, it was clear that his intentions were to harm George Floyd. It was obvious to see that this occurrence was out of racism and hate, and millions who saw what happened, knew that.
George Floyd’s death heavily moved the Black Lives Matter movement. It brought an uproar of protesters and many protests began to occur everywhere in America. George Floyd’s final words “I can’t breathe,” became a slogan for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Protesters were demanding justice for Floyd as he was killed by cops, two of them being white, and this occurrence further proved the fact that cops have privilege and use it to their advantage, especially when racism is involved.
Black speakers at the BLM protests explained the struggle of having to be scared of cops, rather than feeling safe. They explained that they have to do anything and everything cops say or else there is a risk of getting killed, solely because of the color of their skin.
British actor John Boyega, who is Black, was very vocal about how he felt in regards to racism. He spoke at a George Floyd protest in London and delivered an amazing and powerful speech.
“I need you to understand how painful it is. To be reminded every day that your race means nothing. And that isn’t the case anymore. There is never a case anymore.”
Boyega continues his speech and mentions the black individuals who were killed because of the constant racism in the justice system.
“We are a physical representation of our support for George Floyd. We are a physical representation in our support for Sandra Bland. We are a physical representation on our support for Trayvon Martin. We are a physical representation of our support for Stephen Lawrence, for Mark Duggan.”
On May 29, 2020, Derek Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder and second degree manslaughter. He was held at Oak Park Heights state prison. Staff members of the prison claimed that while Chauvin was held there for the first month, only white employees were allowed to guard him.
The officers, half of whom are Black and all of whom are POC, said that orders from the superintendent, Steve Lydon (who is white) told the officers to stay on the third floor of the jail, essentially being segregated from the white staff. Lydon indicated that the officers could not be trusted to do their jobs as they are not white.
Many people had a problem with this, and rightfully so, as there was clear bias towards certain staff members and clear racism towards the POC officers.
The other three cops responsible for the death of George Floyd, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
After George Floyd’s death many more incidents regarding cops’ racism towards the black community started to go noticed. There have been multiple incidents where black individuals are killed by cops, and some include the tragic deaths of Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain.
The Black Lives Matter movement is constantly trying to bring justice and equality to the Black community.
George Floyd’s death is a very tragic and traumatic event that shouldn’t have happened, but his story being heard from millions allowed many to be educated on racism that still takes place today.
George Floyd is a name that shall not be forgotten, and a name that will forever be a part of the Black Lives Matter movement.