Symbolic gestures and impassioned pleas will not be enough

The murder of George Floyd has captivated people all across the world. Images of protestors getting tear gassed and pelted with rubber bullets by police and national guardsmen all across America have also captured the spotlight as well. These are indelible events that will stay with the world as iconic events for many generations.

Protests and pleas for peace have also been shown in heavy rotation in efforts to diffuse the tense atmosphere. There have been many instances of law enforcement officers taking a knee with peaceful protestors in an apparent show of solidarity against George Floyd’s murder. Roxie Washington, the mother of George Floyd’s six year old daughter Gianna, held an impassioned press conference Tuesday afternoon. She shed tears over having to explain to her young daughter what happened to her father. It’s a conversation no mother should have to have.

As emotionally stirring as these events are, they really mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. Law enforcement taking a knee is a non tangible gesture that doesn’t eradicate the kind of brutality which has brought our environment to the fever pitch we’re experiencing today. Ms. Washington’s tear filled press conference should pull at the heartstrings of any human being with a heart and soul, appealing to their sense of humanity.

But she’s referring to a law enforcement system that has wantonly killed men, women, and children with absolute impunity. You can’t appeal to a cruel, heartless system that has absolutely zero humanity for all citizens. You can’t use your tears to appear to a penal system that uses selective motivation to indict, try, convict, and properly sentence perpetrators for various crimes. The tears you shed over your deceased loved ones are what sustains them.

Make no mistake. There are some law enforcement officials and elected officials that are genuine in their efforts to support the protestors. In addition to gestures and pleas, America needs to set a standard where if an officer wantonly kills any citizen, that officer will either face life in prison or the death penalty. Full stop. Tear down the blue wall of silence. If a law enforcement officer sees a fellow officer acting in a unprofessional, dangerous, or illegal manner, step in and stop them. Turning a blind eye and deaf ear to misdeeds makes them complicit.

If America is looking for a solution to the internal strife she’s incurring, here it is: Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao need to be indicted, convicted, and sentenced to either life in prison or the death penalty for the death of George Floyd. Officers looking for an opportunity to have their George Floyd moment in the future will now think twice. As time goes on, and eliminating impunity for perpetrators that commit these acts remains status quo, America will receive the peace and tranquility she’s desperately looking for.

 

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