You are not a racist or indifferent to the suffering of others. You are probably religious and moral and care what happens to those less fortunate. So I urge you to watch the video of George Floyd’s last moments, trying to be heard as he was suffocated, “asphyxiation from sustained pressure”.
I was almost drowned once at the age of 14. I was held underwater by a large classmate. I could not breathe. I panicked and thought I would die. My body screamed for air! I passed out. I lived in panic of drowning for about 40 more years and I reacted violently to anyone touching my throat or trying to horseplay with me in a swimming pool.
So I urge everyone to imagine that suddenly you are prevented from and so, unable to breathe and you know that you are dying. In desperation you cry out for help. You use your last breaths to beg for your life. But to no avail. The person who holds your life, your air, in his hands, ignores you and kills you. On purpose or unintentionally, he kills you. But for him, you would live to see another day.
I appreciate your doing this and giving life and breath to this story.
Or maybe you think it is okay for cops to mete out justice in the streets. You think George Floyd brought about his own death by resisting arrest and he opened the door to be killed in that moment, on that street by that cop. Maybe you think his life is worth less than yours, or your son’s or your dad. Maybe because you do not trust Black people, or criminals or because you trust cops completely. I do not know what would bring about that callous response to the 8.5 minute video of a man’s life taken from him with calm cool detachment.
I grew up in Chicago. Between 2002 and 2006, a Cook County Special Prosecutor, retired Justice Edward Egan, investigated allegations that a group of homicide detectives had tortured black suspects including attaching a car battery to suspects testicles and shocking them into confessing crimes. Special Prosecutor Egan concluded that a Lt. Burge and officers under his command had likely committed torture, but that any crimes were outside the state statute of limitations and could not be prosecuted.
On August 9, 1997, NYPD Officer Justin Volpe in Brooklyn sodomized suspect Abner Louima with a broken broom handle in a 70th Precinct bathroom. Officer Volpe eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.
5 NYPD plainclothes officers thought Amadou Diallo fit the description of a serial rapist. The officers followed him to his apartment building. When Diallo reached into his jacket, officers fired 41 rounds, 19 hitting Diallo. No gun was found on Diallo, only a wallet he pulled out to identify himself and a bag of videotapes.
The list of Black people murdered or tortured by police is lengthy and justice rare. So whatever your reason for failing to understand the nature of the anger/rage now, get over it. Your dad was a cop, you were a cop, your best friend told you it is a hoax, your president fed you a line of bullshit or whatever, I urge you either find your sense of connection to the rage or shut up. Everyone of us must demand, despite our own perceptions, bias or prejudice, that police misconduct must stop, things must change and we are the reason it will change. We will give voice to the disenfranchised, voiceless, victims of social and legal inequities. Be with them or shut up. There is no room left for more brutality and misconduct without retort and consequence. Screw blue flu. We will provide safety and security if need be for all our fellows who are vulnerable to police brutality, be that a person of color or white, male or female. This is the moment in history where we can make a difference.