The death of George Floyd at the hands (or knee) of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has caused a firestorm of protests reminiscent of the turbulent 1960s riots in Detroit and the Watts section of Los Angeles. Those who felt modern times have ushered America into a post racial climate would have a hard time distinguishing the angst on display across 30 major American cities.
You read that right. Protestors in 30 major American cities including New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Atlanta have taken to the streets in protest of Floyd’s murder. Atlantans used rocks and other objects to destroy windows of the CNN building on Friday night. Viewers watched in shock as field reporter Nick Valencia had to run for cover while on air inside the building as protestors hurled rocks, water bottles, and firecrackers at the visibly alarmed police force entrusted to keep the protestors at bay. That prompted this response from Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
More drastic measures have been taken in Minnesota, where the chain of events first materialized. Governor Tim Walz has ordered the mobilization of the National Guard to detonate the combustible protests that have resulted in destruction of local businesses, theft, and event the closing of the Third Precinct of the Minneapolis police department.
Missing from all this is actual resolution. If Chauvin would have been immediately arrested, none of this would have happened. But the protests are deeper than Derek Chauvin. A young generation of Americans are tired of seeing unarmed Black citizens die wantonly at the hands of law enforcement in the vein of “cops are just doing their job”, without explaining what part of their job requires using excessive force on a subject already in submission mode.
Furthermore, the Floyd family is disappointed with the third degree murder charge against Chauvin. They feel George Floyd’s death was worthy of first degree murder, which indicates premeditation. Chauvin could have just handcuffed Floyd and put him into his squad car as a gesture of arrest, ending the incident. Having your knee on a man’s neck while he’s prone on the ground and smirking while the man is begging for his life leads to premeditation, thus creating the firestorm of protests we see today.
A utopian world suggests all this will go away tonight. But we live in the real world, where some are extremely weary of the hopelessness they feel over another wanton death at the hands of law enforcement. But it’s too early to tell if the looming presence of the National Guard will have any effect on the protests. Nevertheless, America will keep a close eye on what happens next.