The Murder of George Floyd
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was murdered by officers of the Minneapolis Police Department, agents of the city government of Minneapolis, Minnesota. I do not say "allegedly" murdered, because video shot by a witness to the murder clearly shows one of the officers kneeling on Floyd's neck until he dies without ever checking Floyd's vitals or attempting to resuscitate him. His fellow officers work crowd control while the murder takes place, making them accessories, at least, to the crime.
The officers claim that Floyd resisted arrest. From Cedric Alexander at CNN:
On Monday evening, police in Minneapolis were called about someone trying to pass a counterfeit bill at Cup Foods, a neighborhood grocery store. Two officers responded to the alleged forgery in progress, saw a man matching the suspect's description and ordered him out of his car. He complied but then, according to police, "physically resisted."
We don't know exactly what constitutes the "physical resisting" that George Floyd engaged in, as far as I know there is no video evidence proving the claims of the officers. Let's assume the worst for a moment, however. Let's assume that not only did George Floyd resist these officers, but let's assume he attacked them and maybe even tried to use deadly force against them himself. He was then subdued, restrained, and incapable of further harm to the officers or to any civilians. Then Derek Chauvin, the police officer in question, puts his knee on the back of Floyd's neck and holds it there for over 7 minutes while Floyd is restrained and pleading for his life, cutting off Floyd's air and suffocating him to death.
So even accepting that the officers' version of events is true, a dubious position given the circumstances, they still killed a man who was not a threat to them or anyone else out of revenge for allegedly resisting them.
Many have pointed to the racism that must have caused this murder, as African Americans are far more likely to be hassled by the police across the United States than white people or even other minorities. This is true and it shouldn't be discounted, but it's not the root cause of George Floyd's murder. People like to discuss institutional racism, but there's another, even more institutionalized way of thinking that has infected our society and even given a platform for racists to act out their hateful fantasies with little to no consequences.
The government, at any level, reserves the right to kill any of us if they deem that we have not properly complied with what they have deemed to be their "lawful" commands.
According to the Minneapolis Police officers, George Floyd "physically resisted" them, but why would he do that assuming it's even true to any degree? More importantly, perhaps, is why shouldn't he have done that? If some lunatic ran up to you in the streets raving about a crime you committed because you look like the suspect you would be well within your right to disregard them at least and physically defend yourself if necessary. Nobody would argue that you should simply comply with the lunatic's demands and play along, lest you deserve to be assaulted or even killed by them.
The only difference between the hypothetical lunatic and Derek Chauvin is that Chauvin was a police officer, an agent of the government.
That they believe they have the right to issue commands and have them immediately and perfectly followed or that they then have the right to engage in deadly force to enforce compliance in a so-called free society is the crux of the issue, in my opinion. This belief is the basis of government, whatever form it takes, and is exactly what attracts this type of work to psychopaths who want to hurt people.
It doesn't matter how unreasonable or even illegal a command from a police officer might actually be, in the moment you are expected to comply or you can be killed. You can use your time and money to fight the command after the fact, but you had better just shut your mouth and comply in the moment in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave unless you want to die.
So yes, there is racism in America, and it certainly manifests in tension between black people and the police across the country, but that is a secondary issue to the main issue that government agents can kill us at any time they feel we're not complying with their commands. You can't simply eradicate racism, but you can quit giving racists and psychopaths in general the power to kill people so long as they put on a government-issued badge.