In Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, George Perry Floyd Jr. was arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill at a store. He was pulled from his car and handcuffed. Mr. Floyd complied with officers the entire time. Bystanders recorded from all angles as Officer Chauvin placed his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes until he died, while the other officers helped pin the rest of Floyd’s body down. Floyd’s death was ruled a homicide, knee holds and choke holds are not police standard, but they do it anyway.
There was immediate outrage from the public, the video went viral. Officer Chauvin and his accomplices were later fired. The public demanded the officers be held accountable for murder, but the Hennepin County Attorney Michael O. Freeman refused to prosecute the officers. Michael O. Freeman is from a line of county attorneys, including former county attorney Amy Klobuchar, who oversee police misconduct, yet refuse to hold police accountable. Many complaints regarding police brutality had been filed on Officer Chavin and other Minneapolis police prior to George Floyd, yet went on deaf ears. George Floyd is one of many victims of police violence in the United States.
The news spread across the U.S. and internationally. People of all walks, ages, and creeds are standing in solidarity for Black Lives Matter. The movement has catapulted to global status. Residents from Syosset Long Island also showed their support, held up signs. Demonstrations have mostly been peaceful, with people marching, chanting, singing, and dancing. However, police from all states have been extremely aggressive, approaching crowds in riot gear, opening fire with rubber bullets, flashbang grenades, bashing people’s faces and bodies with their shields and baton. Macing people in the face and throwing them to the ground. They’ve used tanks, flown medic planes low to intimidate crowds, unlawful curfews, and confiscated demonstrator’s property, clearly violating the Geneva Convention and the First Amendment. Donald Trump has threatened demonstrators with military force, using the National Guards as a weapon, the very military who swore an oath to protect the constitution is being used by the man in the oval office for his own personal use. Reporters, nurses, and citizens have been subjected to unlawful arrests and unimaginable, unprovoked violence as seen in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.
Calls to defund the police have gained popularity among both political parties. Minneapolis is already leading the conversation to defund their police and allocate money to much needed social services. Jews for Radical & Economic Justice have launched a petition where New York City residents can call their District Council Members to urge them to vote No on expanding the police budget and instead allocate the money to programs that benefit the community, the homeless, children, and teachers.
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