As Geroge Floyd protests rage on in the United States and beyond, police in Atlanta fatally shot another Black man.
George Floyd Protests: An Overview
A Minneapolis police officer killed an unarmed and cooperative George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, for allegedly using a counterfeit bill on May 25. Floyd’s murder ignited protests.
Demonstrators took to the streets under the general umbrella of the Black Lives Matter movement. The purposes of these protests are: Demanding justice for George Floyd and countless other Black Americans who have suffered police brutality, denouncing and raising awareness about systemic racism, and divesting from police departments to instead invest in Black communities.
The movement quickly turned global: The United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, and Spain are only some of the countries where locals showed their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Protesters Condemn Statues of Racist Figures
The protesters have been criticizing the commemoration of racist public figures in the form of statues and asked governments for change through popular petitions.
Critics decried and vandalized statues of Leopold II as the former leader of Belgium was responsible for the death of 15 million Congolese men, women, and children. In the United Kingdom, protesters vandalized a statue of Winston Churchill with graffiti, calling him a racist due to the degrading claims that he had made about Indian and Chinese people.
In the United States, confederate monuments and statues are criticized as symbols of white supremacy and some authorities are still resisting calls to take them down. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, protestors attempted to pull down a statue of Juan de Onate, a 16th century Spanish conquistador. The police shot down and injured a protester when clashing with the frustrated demonstrators.
Rayshard Brooks Fatally Shot in Atlanta
A police officer in Atlanta shot and killed Rayshard Brooks, aged 27, on the night of June 12. The African American man had fallen asleep in his car, blocking the drive-thru of a Wendy’s. Brooks’ death came as a shock to his family. “The trust that we have with the police force is broken. The only way to heal some of these wounds is through a conviction and drastic change in the police department,” said Rayshard’s cousin, Tiara Brooks.
Mayor of Atlanta Keisha Lance Bottoms said that the death of Rayshard Brooks angered and saddened her beyond words. Bottoms deemed the death of Brooks a murder and ordered the termination of the police officer responsible. The mayor also ordered changes to the police department’s use of force policy on Monday.
American Police Officers Resign
Amid the protests and further unjustified police brutality against Black people, some members of the American police force no longer want to be associated with the institution. Upon the death of Brooks, 19 police officers in the Atlanta police department stepped down. An additional seven officers resigned in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd.
In an open letter signed by 14 police officers, they dissociate themselves from the actions of Derek Chauvin, the officer responsible for the heinous death of George Floyd. “Derek Chauvin failed as a human and stripped George Floyd of his dignity and life. This is not who we are,” said the 14 officers.