May 31st, 2020
On 25th May 2020, an African American man, George Floyd’s death sent a wave of protests all over the United States against racial profiling and police brutality. The protest grew bigger and louder despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Many have taken to online protests in view of the current pandemic caused lockdowns.
Videos of police officers using force to subdue the on-ground protesters and journalists have flooded social media. Some videos show the officers handling tear gas, rubber bullets, batons, and flash-bang grenades. As tension keeps rising, some police officers have come forward in open support of the protestors standing against racism and police brutality.
One Sheriff in Michigan, Chris Swanson, told the protesters that he wanted to transform the ongoing protests into a parade. He then laid down his baton, protective helmet, and joined the crowd. Similar sentiments arose in New Jersey, California, Missouri, and North Dakota.
However, cities in Fargo, Ferguson, and Kansas witnessed the protests go violent despite these few heartwarming moments.
Police Chief in Atlanta, Erika Shields, went viral after she opened her heart to a protesting woman last Friday. She diffused the tense situation by saying that she understood why the protestors were angry. She further acknowledged the right of the protestors to feel scared and voice their opinion against police brutality. Shields also added that she was there to ensure that the protestors get to voice their opinions in a safe and sound manner.
George Floyd, as captured on videos, died after a police officer tried arresting him by kneeling on his neck. Floyd was a 46-years-old Black man and father of two young daughters, 6 and 22 years old. The video footage, that’s gone viral, shows three other police officers standing nearby as the incident took place. Floyd can be heard saying “I can’t breathe.”
All four police officers have been terminated. Derek Chauvin, the white officer seen kneeling on the Black man, has been charged and arrested for third-degree murder.
The ongoing pandemic, economic fallout leading millions to lose their jobs, racism, and racism induced police brutality have fueled protests not just in the U.S, but across the globe.
Two police officers in Kansas City were seen holding a poster arguing to end police brutality. Officers in Fargo were seen holding hands with protestors, in a show of solidarity.