It is encouraging to see other countries reacting. There are many aspects.
I was angry at what happened – but I didn’t learn about it until several days after.
After 2 months of quarantine, then an explosion of unexpected events.
Videos of tear gas, mobs, burning police cars, looting. My first reaction was rage, similar to what the majority are expressing at the wrong done. A day later, seeing the brother speak, and others, and the recirculating history ( atrocities done, lack of justice, for those killed and the unpunished perpetrators, liars), a profound sadness. Even, a rude awakening at my comparably privileged lifestyle; I can see why celebrities would be moved to donate, and speak.
Some of the notable events I saw in the news: the relationship between the man who killed him ( 17 years working in the same club), and the other officer; his step brother. His wife immediately divorcing him.
The escalation of protests, to widespread looting, daily. A semi driving into a crowd of protesters on the freeway; pulling him out, beating him. The man with a machete, chasing protesters, then getting beaten. Protesters getting shot, police turning off body cams. People getting fired, after making public social media posts, deemed racist ( attorney, finance worker). Peaceful protesters being pushed, shoved- an incognito elected official being pepper sprayed. Cops pulling people out of cars, and getting suspended. After days in a bunker, a photo at a church otherwise not visited; criticism from waning religious supporters, and a speech from the chief running mate.
I can understand the fear , generated in some, at the sight of multiple protesters beating someone ( referring to the machete wielding guy defending his favorite bar – pre-emptively attacking a group). But, keeping in mind how ‘actions’ can appear in video, that don’t show degree of force; if one strong person ( ie, someone on the SWAT team) punched him as hard as he could, would he still be alive? What I would consider more a threat, are machinations currently underway, to extend corruption, and deceive, that are as yet undiscovered.
Growing up in the U.S., I have heard of similar events ( to George Floyd), in the neighborhoods I’ve lived, where I was the minority. And seen firsthand how differently my African american classmates are treated by law enforcement, for minor infractions,and how often, it quickly escalates into deadly force for them. Where a white person, it would never become dangerous, even if a much greater legal infraction.
Seeing the woman calling 911, knowing she was being recorded – is it ironic, that the one’s presuming superiority, demonstrate below average common sense. Since my mother was a foreigner, I grew up hearing her stories of being treated unfairly; her daily frustrations, caused by the prejudices of others, and her determination to stand up for herself, made a great impact on me; and her strong admonitions to be wary, and above reproach.
Perhaps due to my a) being construably white (enough to be included ), and b) of formidable muscular build, and a disciplined demeanor, I have never had any significant altercation with law enforcement officers.
I know many classmates who became officers, and in my roles in related service for protection, I generally found the majority of law enforcement employees to be people, trying to make a living, and hoping to not get hurt on the job. Generally friendly and kind. But, as part of the job, they are trained to react a certain way to those who break the law. And it puts them at risk; there is much liability; choosing between safe or sorry. Mistakes happen, but with more at stake.
Yet, we hear of the kind of person, who is ‘off’, cruel or sadistic in their actions, and egotistical, about being feared, or brutal; getting away with violation after violation; abuses unreported, covered up; until it’s undeniable- caught on cell phone cam; and those higher up disavow. Until, some one’s job is at stake, the brutal reputation makes the job easier, in some perspectives. But, also, that fear, can evoke hatred and aggravate interactions, making them more contentious, and potentially deadly for either party.
I have heard plenty of cases of dirty cops, and varying degrees of law breaking, abuse of power within, and from reports ( special interest groups). I have been remarkably fortunate, to have never been subject to it from the receiving end; or in a position to feel it was advantageous to deal it. Those I have known, that speak of such behavior, often have a subjective view, and awareness that it can be interpreted criminally by bystanders.
In my opinion, anyone in this day and age, who is in such a position, should know better, and be aware that everything they do can be potentially recorded on camera. To do it anyway, is foolish. The current person in question, from what I read, was put in solitary confinement; ostensibly out of concern for covid-19* ( another example of inequality, considering, how many are in general prison, for lesser offenses; and even the protesters are at risk, in their peaceful reaction).
* supposedly because they believe he wouldn’t last 2 minutes, because of the other inmates- but wouldn’t that be a convenient form of justice; allowing the disgraced to be brutalized by the incarcerated; experience the double edge of the law? Sparing the justice system from a lengthy and expensive process. Is this much effort made to protect lesser offenders – therein lies more inequity.
I had a colleague, older than me, who was forced to resign, after breaking the ribs of a gangster leader, when sent to disperse a gang in a city place. He did his job. In a way. The gangster had broken a glass bottle and swung it at him; my colleague had military experience, and exposure to aikido. Nonetheless, it was considered unnecessary force. I’m not taking sides, it’s just an anecdote he told me.
From the various cops I’ve known, there is a sense of ‘us’ versus ‘them’, deriving from fear of coming into mortal danger. And I can see how that mindset easily crosses over into behavior that can be deadly to certain people they encounter, who make sudden movements. It seems a shame, that those who are most fearful, and least concerned with ‘serving and protecting’, use their deadly weapon, quickest, and presume certain people are adversaries.
So many cases I recall over the past decades. Similar, but not caught on camera: An African American drummer, returning from church, car breaks down on road, while waiting for roadside assistance, a cop out of uniform, draws a gun and approaches, the drummer goes for his cell phone, and is shot, repeatedly, deadly, as he flees, in the back. The citizens, including me are outraged; he is protected from the angry mob. But who was there to protect the innocent, citizen that was wronged? Officer gets jail time ( despite letting his hair grow, and gaining weight, and looking pitiful and remorseful). Had that shooting been caught on camera, would it be 1st degree murder, riots?
I have immediate relatives, who look less ‘white’ than I, and have encountered police brutality, being framed, on trumped up charges, and threatened, until the attorney in my family intervened; at which point all such behavior dispersed. My relatives face was slammed against the pavement, leaving damage. Unnecessary force, tackled by several much larger, older men. I , personally, have had mostly positive interactions with law enforcement officers – from an early age; law abiding, cooperative and show respect; rather than hostility, and aggression.
Aside from one early experience, where a rent a cop, at my high school, who chatted with girls at the school, was showing how tough he thought he was, when he came onto my bus, and was supposed to have me move to the front of the bus. I saw him, try to pull my book bag, and I gripped it from him, standing to comply. He however, was off balance, and had over pulled, elbowing a tall white girl ( who was really nice, quite, and always kind) – her face scrunched up in pain, she tried not to show; her face turned red, and she held her forehead in pain.
The rent a cop, at my highschool, said aloud he hadn’t tried to hit her, but should have hit me. I never felt afraid of him, because the men at my martial arts dojo,whom I had wrestled to the ground, were bigger than him, and he behaved like a nervous fool; and it was obvious, he had some sort of weight training program, and dressed to show off his upper body, and seemed to move stiffly, inefficiently, and imprecisely.
I sensed he was afraid of me, and he kept his distance, and mostly talked tough – but somehow, he sounded like a moron. I had no doubt, if I met him alone in an alley, despite him being 15 years older, and partially trained, that I was harder, and faster, and trained to go for the neck. I wasn’t surprised when I heard that he was involved in a lawsuit, regarding improperly targeting students of a certain ethnicity with traffic tickets, and was fired, within the next 2 years.
With advanced martial arts, I have little fear of individuals, and don’t project fear. I learned not to telegraph my feelings or intentions; meaning, if I felt I was in danger, by an armed individual, while I was unarmed, in close proximity, I would behave in a way to maximize my advantage*, and strike with optimum effectiveness, at a precise time, in a circumstance, that I set up by means available in the circumstances ( by relative location, and verbal digression) for my long term well being.
*The aforementioned, is not a statement of premeditated mal-intent toward anyone, just a possible, way to express how the perspective of someone who has trained with serious martial artists their entire life might be different from the average individual, who mouths off to cops, and gestures violently, and defies their orders, and gets cuffed, and shoved into a car- eventually; all things they can control, but choose not to. I have learned to be prepared for the worst, and behave my best. There are some who behave their worst, and expect the best.
Despite the skateboard, and bricks, of multiple assaults, he ( the machete wielder ) lived. Skinny teens, and early twenties, lashing out – afraid of the man who obviously didn’t wield his weapon effectively, might look *fear inspiring; but strength, and combat skill aren’t always distinguishable from ‘action’, on a video. Most violence people see, comes in the form of ‘acting’, in movies; so seeing someone beaten like that in a movie, represents death; but in this case, he survived.
*Caffeinated speed, and defined muscles are deceptive; not always powerful. Dense bones, and strongman power, doesn’t look as noticeble to those who associate strength with ‘actors, on diets, and the ‘personal-trainer-assisted-gains’ for a video. Generally, a strongman, trained in combat, can kill someone with one strike. So, when you see repeated blows, and the recipient is still able to speak, and recovers from some bruises, cuts, or broken bones – you have an indication of how ineffectual the blows were; not necessarily how hardy the individual was receiving them.
I’m not sure what the perspective of all the recent events will be in 5 months. I made some effort to support outspoken social media posters, who were passionate and coming under fire for stating their views in support of those hurting most from the recent events.
Having never used Twitter before, ( in order to ‘like’ a tweet, I had to join – I haven’t posted any comments, yet), I began to understand how it is used to direct people’s attention ( or misdirect)*.
*For positive messages, it can be a great tool; I can see some things that may be problematic. Interesting, how the recent fact checking on twitter, has resulted in retaliation, and potential control of it by the current administration. Discussions of the mail -in voting, raise the concern, if the administration is putting the opponents in the position to defend it, pre-emptively quelling suspicion that the mail-in votes will be tampered with – by the ones pointing it out initially. Without volunteers at each voting station processing live voters, and counts, the mail in relies on the honor-system of those in charge with appointing and carrying it out, without transparency. It has happened before with relatives in positions of political power, tampering with ballot machines. Despite, the demonstration, and signs of waning popularity – I feel the majority of citizens still naively presume the election will reflect the popular opinion; and somehow be immune to all the deception, rule breaking already demonstrated, brazenly and repeatedly.
The drama can take the attention off the pandemic, ( people gathering, suddenly, in close quarters, marching – shouting). If there was ever a way to ensure as many people come in contact with it – (of a particular socio/economic class/political affiliation) – this is it; in my opinion.
I hope justice is done by those harmed, and everyone passionate about this, vote; hold officials to their campaign promises.
With reports of out of state agents setting fires, and locals making videos of these various groups vandalizing neighborhoods they don’t live in, claiming and giving credit to a movement, that is not supported by the locals whom it is done in honor of, there seems to be various diabolical elements teeming beneath the veneer of chaos. It definitely sets up a platform for bringing in troops, and getting credit for enforcing laws. Distracting from the pandemic, and growing sense of inadequate response, that could have prevented many deaths.
Below, Added June 4 ( 2020) 4:04pm
It is too bad that George Floyd, and many others wrongly murdered by law enforcement, aren’t given justice, or even believed a crime, until independent autopsies, and council are hired by the victim’s families, to pursue lawsuits, of wrongful death. The police, and government, should, obviously do the right thing, without requiring prompting or legal intervention at the expense of the grieving, who have lost a loved one – having to fight with those whose job it is to keep the peace and enforce the law – in order to get them to follow the law themselves, is a disturbing, disappointing, discouraging and unacceptable standard operating procedure and status quo.
The protests are inspiring, and give hope for change, and have elicited much agreement that protecting corrupt law enforcement officers is wrong, especially when the majority that are victimized are done as a crime of opportunity. Depicting the corrupt as predators primarily of the disadvantaged; behaving like bullies and cowards.
That’s why those guys wouldn’t last 2 minutes in a general facility.
The family of George Floyd should receive millions in settlement (just like Seth Adams, a white young man, that was prevented from receiving emergency treatment after a cop wrongly shot him, and left him to die; choosing to cover up, lie and tarnish the victim, rather than face justice) ; in addition to stiff penalties for all the officers that participated.
The current status of 3rd degree murder, manslaughter, gets him out in 20 years. In this case, it wasn’t an accident. He was warned, and continued. There was no weapon. Nothing to blame. He should get 1st degree. Like anyone else would. The others should get life in prison, and get beaten up regularly in general prison. The family should get millions, and George Floyd’s legacy for them, should be a comfortable life of equal opportunity, for every member of his immediate family, and regular memorial honor.
It would be the smartest thing to do. But, likely, the protests will be extended, as due process is dragged out, and the property damage in it’s wake will far exceed a generous payout to the victim’s surviving family. And the administration using it as an opportunity, to claim it made people safe from the peaceful protesters. As vandalizing special interest groups ( composed of a majority of white people who don’t live in the neighborhoods they are destroying) create more unrest, and peaceful protesters are punished instead.
While the most passionate, who feel most oppressed, from delayed pandemic payouts, unemployment and prolonged quarantine, are moved to protest the inequity enabled by their government, they are further exposed to the pandemic.
Will the deaths related to that be avenged also?
A very sad state; preceded by several years of: misinformation, partisan bickering, and a misused, dysfunctional government – that isn’t given time till the next election to be remedied, since a pandemic, and a civil crisis unexpectedly require immediate attention – by a polarized, overwhelmed bureaucracy; while hurricanes are coming.
Despite this, the best is being brought out in some, and the worst in others; like all events in history. There is corruption, but there are always good people standing up against it, somewhere.