The US is up in arms over disciplines that have held people of color under the thumb (or knee, in a more literal sense) of white supremacy for years.
Rabat – As protests sweep across the United States in the aftermath of the horrific death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, debates center around the purpose and pose of the demonstrations.
Minnesota governor Tim Waltz, who was quick to denounce the actions of the police officers involved in Floyd’s death and offer apologies, has stated, “the situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd.” He added, “It is about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cities.”
After protests broke out in Portland, Oregon, the city’s mayor echoed concerns, calling the demonstrations “lawless” and declaring a state of emergency. “I have had enough. The community has had enough, and I’m telling those individuals go home,” he said.
US President Donald Trump and others in opposition of how far the protests have gone, called the uprisings a “mockery” and dishonor to the memory of Floyd.
Although many have condemned and grieved the wreckage caused by angry outbursts that are setting cities ablaze, others have forgiven the looting and damage done to property in the name of a much-needed revolution or rebellion against the deadly disciplines that have held people of color under the thumb (or knee, in a more literal sense) of white supremacy for years.
The killing of another innocent black person has conjured up the pain, inequality, and fear that so many African Americans in the US face under an undeniably racially biased criminal justice system.
As US authorities and advocates seek justice for the murder of Floyd, communities nationwide are addressing the systematic roots of the problem.
Educational manuals on how to be a supporting ally and understand white privilege have spread across social media, offering insight into America’s deeply embedded racisms.
Many are sharing images of related historical peaceful protests that have ultimately been dismissed and are expressing the senselessness of prioritizing order over addressing blatant injustices.
The background story on the officers involved in Floyd’s death
Under arrest for using a counterfeit $20 bill at a deli in Minneapolis, Chauvin pressed his knee into the neck of Floyd for several minutes until he went silent, unable to breathe. The country’s ensuing unrest has led to multiple breaches of press freedom and safety, along with Trump instigating the shooting of protesters as he called in the National Guard to control the country’s fury.
Derek Chauvin, the police officer who took the life of Floyd on Monday, May 25 and a 19-year Minneapolis Police Department veteran has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. He is under investigation by federal authorities after using a restraint technique to arrest Floyd that was not part of the police department’s training.
The department promptly fired Chauvin, along with three other officers on the scene at the time of Floyd’s arrest and killing. As the actions of these law enforcement officials rock the nation, details of Chauvin and another involved officer’s past have proven a record of misconduct.
Both Chauvin and accompanying officer Tou Thao have been reported on multiple occasions for police brutality.
There are 12 related complaints against Chauvin in the Minneapolis Office of Police Conduct complaint database — all are listed under “closed,” “non-public,” or “no discipline.” The perpetrating officer has also been involved in numerous police shootings.
In 2017, Thao was sued for using excessive force in a case that resulted in the hospitalization of the man who was under arrest at the time, while on a walk with an eight-months-pregnant woman.
Police brutality is an ongoing issue in the US and one that is increasingly present in the media. The build up of frustration is emerging alongside a heightened visibility of the issue as more violent incidents are caught on film.
American actor Will Smith’s telling statement, “racism is not getting worse. It’s getting filmed,” has circulated social media and allowed others to reflect on the long-standing injustices that have long been covered up by codes of silence, qualified immunity, and systems of oppression.