And why Floyd Protests isn’t going to affect any systemic change?
Protests have erupted across the globe for the killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis, Minnesota by a white police officer, later identified as Derek Chauvin, by pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes straight. Derek’s two colleagues restrained Floyd while the fourth officer appears to shield the incident from the bystanders.
Floyd was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.
Videos of the incident have been shared widely on social media and viewed by millions across the globe. This heinous act sparked outrage in the African-American community and people across the communities were horrified by this inhumane act.
The four police officers were fired the day after the incident, and later charged with third-degree murder (Chauvin) and the other three second-degree manslaughter, but it wasn’t enough to fan the flame, especially after the first autopsy cast doubts on the cause of death. The charges were later amended to second-degree murder for the main accused and aiding and abetting second-degree murder for the rest.
We have been here before. George Floyd isn’t the first person of color to be killed in police custody and sadly won’t be the last either. Michael Brown, Eric Gardner, Ahmaud Arbery, Botham Jean, the list is full of victims who were targeted because of the color of their skin. The US police force is widely known for the use of inappropriate force when faced with a person of color.
A disturbingly regular occurrence
It is not a hidden fact that African-Americans have been disproportionally targeted by men in uniform. According to data compiled by Mapping Police Violence, a research and advocacy group shows the same fact. Between 2013 and 2019, 7666 people were killed by the men in blue. Despite being only 13% of the total US population, African-American are two and half times more likely to be killed by police than white Americans. In Utah, where the African-American community makes up only 1.06% of the population, 10% of the victims were African-Americans.
Obviously, this is not a rare occurrence, as shown by the protest in the 60s, 90s, and the recent Black Lives Matter movement. Chris Hayes, a host at MSNBC writes in his book A Colony in a Nation,
“American criminal justice isn’t one system with massive racial disparities but two distinct regimes, One (the Nation) is the kind of policing regime you expect in a democracy; the other (the Colony) is the kind you expect in an occupied land.”
Chris Hayes, A Colony in a Nation
Several reports have been done on police conduct in cases like these, but there is no visible change in policing behavior in the past decades. Even if law personnel is accused of unlawful killing, they are unlikely to be indicted by the grand jury or even charged by the prosecutors in most cases. The biases are clear to everyone.
With the Floyd protests turning extra violent in recent days, I fear that any chance there may have been for any systemic change in the policing system has evaporated completely. And with US President Donald Trump recently labeling the protestors as criminals and terrorists, this is only going to turn even worse.
With the Presidential Election on the horizon this November, this is only going to set the stage for the blame game, accusation-counter accusation for this whole period. And the younger population is less likely to vote than ever in recent years and a chance for any candidate seriously advocating for a systemic change is even less likely.
A new MorningConsult poll shows 58% of voters, including a 48% plurality of Democrats, say they’d support bringing in U.S. troops to supplement city police forces amid the Floyd protests.
Joe Biden is currently leading in the polls quite handsomely, to know what India could expect from a Joe Biden Presidency click here.
Derek Chauvin was found guilty of manslaughter, and second and third-degree murder; sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison. Read here.
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