Another Tragic example of Police Brutality. When will it stop?
The month of June kicks off Juneteenth celebrations for the African American community. Juneteenth is one of the oldest ceremonies honoring the end of slavery in the United States. It is a celebration that reminds African Americans that they are free and equal with their White counterparts. Nonetheless, freedom and equality are still something foreign in this country. For example, the case of George Floyd, who was brutally murdered by Derek Chauvin, Police Officer of the Minneapolis Police Department, he was not a threat, and he had surrendered himself to the authorities. However, it did not matter to the white police officer who shamelessly knelt on Floyd’s neck, pinning him to the ground for several minutes, even as Floyd pleaded, “I can’t breathe!” After calling for his deceased mother several times, he died under the police officer’s knee while the three other police officers with Derek Chauvin stood by and watched the life leave Mr. Floyd’s body, and did nothing. Police officer Derek Chauvin, feeling nor seeing any resistance from Mr. Floyd’s lifeless body, did not listen to the citizens witnessing this horrific murder, plead with him to get off his neck. Derek Chauvin kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck another three or more minutes. His callous indifference, lack of mercy and compassion, and display of evil are beyond words to adequately describe, but we will have the videos and the images forever. Thank God for cell phone video and live streaming. The entire world has witnessed, on video and national television, the senseless murder of another unarmed black man by a white police officer. Black men dying at the hands of the police is not news to the Black Community. The history of Black Life in Cities and States throughout America of images and stories of African American men killed by the police continues to be written today.
“I can’t breathe” are the same words used by Eric Garner, who died in the arms of a police officer in the New York City borough of Staten Island as Daniel Pantaleo put him in a chokehold while arresting him. These are the injustices done to the minorities in this country of ‘freedom.’ Even though the police officer involved in the murder of George Floyd is now charged with murder and manslaughter, is arrested, and is sitting in jail, it still does not change the fact that Mr. Floyd is gone forever. He was a son, a brother, a friend, and will be missed. No amount of years in a cell can take away the pain caused to his family. It was murder, and I believe it meets the conditions for 1st-degree murder and the death penalty. Rioting is happening across the country because the other three police officers have not been arrested or charged. Why? And to add insult to injury, the criminal charge made so far does not begin to represent the crime committed by Derek Chauvin that was witnessed by the world.
Until the State of Minnesota does the right thing, the people of Minnesota and people across the United States should continue to hold peaceful demonstrations in protest of extra-judicial killings. I am hurt and afraid that I am next or that one of my brethren will be next. A traffic stop could mean the end of my life. Try living with that fear, black or white. I am afraid for myself, my children, and my grandchildren. We live in the United States of Racism and Violence against Black People and have been dealing with this for 400 years. Our ancestors were brought here as slaves to this kind of America, and nothing has changed. How many Black men must die before we see change? That is the question that we and the media should be asking. That is the question our legislators should be asking. That is the question our leaders at the highest levels of Government and the criminal justice system should be asking.
The question should not be how many buildings must burn down or city monuments destroyed, or retail stores and other places of business are burned to the ground? The questions should not be who are the outside detractors, terrorists, white supremacists, or foreign governments destroying property in the name of George Floyd and leveraging this event to bring chaos and violence to America. Let us not forget that there are Americans damaging property and setting fires in response to the Government’s inaction and the systematic racism in this country. The fact that we see more white people in the protest does not change the reason why the protest exists. Nor does it change who is responsible for starting this violence through his act of violence in taking the life of an unarmed man. But this is how Americans, both black and white, respond to injustice. From the Boston Tea Party to the Civil Rights Movement, and the many black lives that have been senselessly murder by police. Violence, the destruction of property, and death have always followed. So, let us focus on the real issue because it is not property damage. It is police violence. It is systemic racism in the criminal justice system. Americans, and especially African Americans, want justice, and we want it now.
Where are the critical questions that should be asked by the media? The critical questions are how many Black men must die before we see change? What is the Federal Government doing to expedite the right criminal charges on the other three men? Why is the murderer not being charged with 1st Degree Murder? Why is the DA’s office or the State Attorney general not working overtime to bring justice to the family? Where are daily press briefings on the case? But what do we get? Media coverage of the fires and rioting? We get media coverage of community organizers, mayors, and preachers telling us citizens to go home, be quiet, and stop being violent. ” This is going to get resolved soon. Trust us.” The response is the same after every Black Man is killed. The same message. The same actions by the Government. The same results of no criminal indictments and we go back to the same problem. Will White America change and fix these issues so that Black men and their families can live in peace in the United States? When can the white majority co-exist with the Black minority in America? Black Americans cannot solve this problem. Since when do the victims of injustice have to address the issues they are facing? Victims, we are but, we are not without the resolve to fight for what is right. We need all Americans to get involved to help make the necessary changes we all need to see in this country.
A building can be rebuilt, and monuments can be restored. If businesses are set up correctly and are running, they can restart after a disaster or significant crime. But once a human life is taken, it cannot be resurrected. At least not in this life. I am grateful for my faith and George Floyd’s faith and our mutual belief that there is life after death in a better world than what we live in today. But his life ended to soon and was not ordained by God. God has a plan for all of us, and our life is not over until He says it is over. But man has free will and can take human life and can prevent the plans of God from coming to pass. Man can even take his own life and prevent the purpose that God has for his life. That is what being free means. The love of God constrains and influences us to use our freedom for good and love. Freedom is a choice. Death is a choice. Life is a choice. I choose life and life for all God’s people.
I am in pain, and I am hurt by what has happened. I am tired of seeing black men die at the hands of the police repeatedly. I feel for George Floyd’s family. I am urging everyone to protest peacefully and live in unity with everyone. But, please do not allow the actions of a few, and the media’s attention to it, distract us from the real issue of police violence against black men. Every riot that has started in this country, which Black people are involved in, always begins with police violence and the loss of Black life. Do Black Lives Matter is a real issue and question for America? Let us keep our attention on the real problem and ignore the media, law enforcement, the mayors, the governors, business leaders, community leaders, preachers, and the President of the United States. They want to change the narrative to property damage and silence the protestors, and in doing so, maintain the status quo. Not this time. Enough is enough. This time they have crossed an entirely different line that has affected “We the People,” both white, black, Asian, and brown. The diversity is unprecedented because we have never witnessed such brutality and inhumanity to man. To see a police officer, kill a black man on television is the worst thing and, ironically, the most important thing that could ever happen for America. The world is now a witness to the crime, and it cannot be ignored. George Floyd is a Martyr for change in policing and in criminal justice reform. If Derek Chauvin were a black man, he would have been waiting in jail for the charges to be filed instead of ordering pizza at home with his family. If the three other police officers were black men, they would be in jail, waiting for charges to be filed. But the standard operating procedure for any black man accused of a crime is that we are arrested, tried, and executed by the police officer. We rarely even see the courtroom. Our families may see a courtroom in a civil trial because, in a criminal prosecution, the perpetrators go free. There is a different standard of treatment in the justice system for White America than it is for Black America, and it must change. If the Government fails to convict any of these men, it will be the next blow to Americans everywhere. Will they fail? Probably not based on the track record of the American Judicial system. In addition to the racist history of Minnesota and the small population of Black people there, it is highly unlikely that anything will happen to these men other than temporary incarceration, release on bond, and judge not guilty. Dead Black men rarely see justice for their families.
Change must come to America, or America will keep burning to the ground, and if so, hopefully, something new and better will rise from the ashes.
Eric Lawrence Frazier, MBA
The Power Is Now Media, Inc.