Minneapolis Officer Responsible For George Floyd’s Death Charged With Third-Degree M...

His name was George Floyd and his murder has sparked a huge demand for social justice and change amid a worldwide pandemic.

Embed from Getty Images

Diva Reynolds was visiting her family with her nine-year-old daughter, Judeah, in Minneapolis when they experienced the unfathomable trauma of watching a man die at the hands of the police in front of them. His name was George Floyd and his murder has sparked a huge demand for social justice and change amid a worldwide pandemic. 

“He can’t breathe. That’s wrong, you’ve got 10 people on your side telling you to let off this man’s neck and you didn’t show no mercy. You didn’t show no mercy for life. You didn’t show no mercy as a human being and you damn showed no mercy as a person that worked for the city,” Reynolds told the media, referring to Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for almost eight minutes despite his pleas that he “couldn’t breathe.” 

This past Thursday afternoon Diva and Judeah joined a group of 150 individuals at the street corner in which Floyd was killed to listen to famous civil rights activists speak on police brutality. These activists included the likes of Reverend Al Sharpton and Gwen Carr: Eric Garner’s daughter who has been a prevalent civil rights activist ever since her father was also unjustly murdered by the police after pleading with them that he couldn’t breathe while an officer had him in a now illegal choke hold.

“The reason you see the anger in Minneapolis is that this is not the first time. I wanted to come and let you know that we are with you until we get justice,” Sharpton said at the protest.

The Minneapolis Police Department is no stranger to protests regarding police brutality against black lives specifically. In 2015, unarmed 24-year-old Jamar Clark was shot and killed by the Minneapolis Police, sparking week-long protests. Less than a year later unarmed 32-year-old Philando Castile was murdered by St Anthony police while he was reaching for his wallet after being pulled over. His girlfriend live-streamed the entire incident on Facebook, sparking a huge viral movement for the officers arrest. All officers involved in both incidents were not charged for their crimes. 

In 2017, Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor was charged after shooting and killing Justine Damond, a white woman, who called the police to her house to report a possible sexual assault near her home; Noor is Somali American and ended up getting a sentence of 12.5 years in prison. This specific case sparked a huge national debate over the dynamic shift that occurs when an officer of color kills an unarmed white civilian versus a white officer killing an unarmed black civilian. 

Chauvin, the officer who killed Floyd, along with the three officers who stood next to him while he committed the crime, have all been fired since the incident went viral online. The firings, however, only came after the department received backlash for initially referring to Floyd’s death as a “medical incident” and not murder.

Embed from Getty Images

“People are getting just really tired, really tired and fed up. It’s just constantly been happening. It could have been my brother. It could have been my son, it could have been anybody,” said Minneapolis resident Aisha Breland, 40, at the gathering for Floyd.

Embed from Getty Images

Later on in his speech, Al Sharpton claimed that the right step towards justice for Floyd would have been if the four officers were immediately charged after the incident. As of this afternoon, Friday May 29th, former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. 

According to breaking reports, the former officer was taken into custody today by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

“The investigation is ongoing, [I] anticipate charges against the other three officers involved in the incident.
We entrust our police officers to use certain amounts of force to do their job to protect us. They commit a criminal act if they use this force unreasonably,” he said. Minnesota is one of just three states in the US that uses “third-degree murder”, or killing someone without intent to kill but intent to harm, as a murder charge still; Florida and Pennsylvania are the other two.

After Sharpton’s speech, Minneapolis city council vice-president, Andrea Jenkins, spoke and then passed the microphone around and encouraged community members to express their frustration and grief; the speeches went on for around two hours. Jenkins herself claims that state and local officials need to declare racism as a public health emergency.

In the middle of a pandemic that’s actively killing thousands through the air and close contact, black individuals are still willing to risk infection to protest the unjust killings of their race at the hands of the police; and that speaks volumes. 

“To those who say bringing up racism is racist in and of itself, I say to you, if you don’t call cancer what it is, you can never cure that disease. And so in an effort to try and cure this disease, I am stating exactly what everyone else has witnessed, and that is racism,” Jenkins stated. 

This issue is obviously much larger than just Floyd and the Minneapolis Police Department, it’s nationwide. “Black Lives Matter” and other civil rights groups run by/for black individuals specifically have been around since the dawn of the civil rights movement, and there’s an obvious reason as to why they haven’t gone anywhere; there is still a monumental amount of work to be done. 

What’s most important, now more than ever, is that individuals who are white and have privilege also do their part and use that privilege to benefit those who are denied it. If you want to know how you can help from home, below are the links to a few petitions/go fund me’s for the family of Floyd and others who lost their lives to ignorance and police brutality. Post their names, donate what you can, and don’t stop fighting/speaking on this issue, as Benjamin Franklin once said:

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”

Black Lives Matter

Go Fund Me for family of George Floyd

Justice For George Floyd Petition

Justice For Breonna Taylor Petition

Justice For Tony McDade Petition

Justice For Ahmaud Arbery Petition

The Minnesota Freedom Fund