On Monday night, Minneapolis police officers murdered a man named George Floyd.
And, yes, they murdered him. Some may object to the characterization given the blunt, hard candor of the term, but there’s no other way that any fair-minded person can view the video of a police officer consistently and persistently burying his knee into the neck of a man who eventually died due to the restriction of oxygen resulting from the placement of that knee onto his neck.
The Minnesota Vikings have issued a statement regarding the murder of George Floyd.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of life that occurred Monday evening just blocks from our stadium,” the team said Wednesday. “Everyone in our community deserves the right to feel protected and safe. Our thoughts are with the George Floyd family and all individuals who have been affected by this tragedy.”
Kudos to the Vikings for calling it what it was. Although the team stopped short of calling it a murder (which it was) the full extent of the statement makes clear the organization’s belief that a man who was alive on Monday should still be alive today and that, but for the actions of men who believe that badges give them the authority to brutalize citizens suspected of petty wrongdoing and who pose no obvious or apparent physical threat to the police officers or anyone, George Floyd would still be alive.
The video is clear. It’s unmistakable. There is nothing to be taken out of context or to be misconstrued. George Floyd had been disabled by the police officers, and yet they continued to apply extreme and unnecessary force that ultimately proved to be lethal.
How many examples of this kind of behavior must we witness before we collectively stand up and scream, “Enough!”?
This is precisely the type of misconduct that Colin Kaepernick peacefully protested, pointing out that too many police officers lack the training or the skills or the experience to understand the limits of their authority over American citizens who deserve, at a minimum, to not emerge from an encounter with law enforcement dead.
Dead, without due process. Dead, without a finding of guilt or any type of a sentence issued by a court of competent jurisdiction. Dead, without anything other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time when dealing with the wrong persons to possess and to wield power over others.
Making the incident even more chilling is the fact that it was captured on video, and that the officers knew it was being captured on video. If such brazen deeds will unfold when those perpetrating it are being recorded, what happens when there’s no risk of being held accountable by audio and visual evidence?
Every American, regardless of political beliefs or predispositions, should be horrified by what happened to George Floyd. The Declaration of Independence, the 244th anniversary of the signing of which we will commemorate in just a few weeks, stands for so much more than that.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
George Floyd was deprived of each of those three fundamental American rights, for no apparent reason. If this incident does not spark the kind of change for which Kaepernick sacrificed his career as an NFL quarterback, what will?