The Burning America – Protestors on street for George Floyd

With the death of African-American George Floyd in police custody, many US cities have witnessed wide scale protests and violence for continuously six days. Curfews have been imposed in nearly 40 cities, but have been largely ignored the people, making the situation more tense. Clashes between police and protestors have been seen in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, wherein not only firing tear gas and pepper bullets, but even tankers have been used to disperse the crowds.

A tanker drives towards a crowd of protestors in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Image Source: Reuters

Protestors set police vehicles on fire and looted shops in several cities. The crowds even gathered at the White House throwing stones and lightning fires at the officers. The historic church St John’s Episcopal Church, known as the church of the presidents, was also set on fire the protestors. According to some news briefs, President Donald Trump was taken the secret service into an underground bunker at the White House citing his security after Friday’s unrest. It is since the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968 that US has witnessed massive racial turbulence and civil unrest.

Who was George Floyd and what happened to him?

George Floyd was a 46-year-old man from Minnesota who died after being arrested the police on May 25, 2020. Father of a six-year-old daughter Gianna, he worked as a security guard in a Latin American restaurant called the Conga Latin Bistro, and rented a home from the restaurant’s owner. Recently he lost his job when Minnesota’s governor issued a stay-at-home order as part of measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

On May 25, the police department received a call from a grocery store claiming Floyd was using a forged cheque. Floyd allegedly matched the description of someone who attempted to pass off a counterfeit $20 bill at the store to buy cigarettes.

In the widely circulated video of Floyd’s arrest, he can be seen on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back and officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck. Sounds of Floyd are clear enough in the video where he cries “I can’t breathe” and “Don’t kill me” with the officer holding him down in the similar manner for minutes. The video ends with the police officers lifting limp Floyd onto a stretcher and placing him in the ambulance.

The Minneapolis officer kneels on the neck of George Floyd

As per preliminary autopsy reports, the police officer placed his knee on George’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds whereas Floyd became unresponsive after almost three minutes of the act.

According to Minnesota Police, Floyd died after a “medical incident” in a “police interaction”. Mayor Jacob Frey of Minnesota confirmed the termination of four officers involved in the incident. At a press conference he said;

I believe what I saw and what I saw is wrong on every level. Being black in America should not be a death sentence.

For five minutes we watched as a white officer pressed his knee to the neck of a black man. For five minutes.

This officer failed in the most basic human sense.

The question is when a developed nation like US will see end of racism and police brutality.

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