The killing of George Floyd

THE death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, in the hands of a team of four white police officers has yet again left dark clouds around the issues of racial equality and justice on the one hand, and concerns about racially charged police brutality and justice in the United States and the world, on the other. In a video that went viral from May 20, Floyd is seen to have been accosted by the police officers, who dragged him from a building walkway to the back of a police SUV. He was pulled down by the officers, handcuffed with his hands behind him, and made to lie flat on his belly on the hot surface of the road. Thereafter, Derek Chauvin, one of the policemen, hands tucked in his pocket, sat upon Floyd’s neck with his knees for almost nine minutes. Floyd, arrested for a suspected forged bill, struggled for life under the weight of Chauvin’s knees and begged for his life, crying “I can’t breathe.” He died afterwards in police custody.

The response to this viral video was anger from all social and racial divides and instantaneous protests in the major cities of the United States. The tumultuous hoopla extended to Washington DC, the nation’s capital and home of the controversial president, Donald Trump, who preferred to see the situation from a darker perspective and therefore placing the blame for the breakdown of law and order on mayors, governors and his political rivals, particularly the Democrats, whom he and his supporters tried to accuse of sponsoring or stealthily energizing the protesters.

President Trump had not immediately responded in either tweets or press interviews, contrary to his characteristic spontaneous way, to either condemn the killing or chastise the racist policemen. His reluctance to condemn the racially charged murder of Floyd and quickness to condemn the protesters, the majority of whom were Black Lives Matter activists, and his description of them as “thugs” sparked off a new wave of riots, in which looting and destruction of lives and property resulted. The president eventually responded, but with a nebulous approach: while finally condemning the killing of Floyd, he invoked a dated 1807 (slavery-era)Insurrection Act and called for the deployment of soldiers from the National Guards to the streets, to stop the riots. Peaceful protesters at Lafayette Square, located around the White House, were dispersed with teargas and rubber bullets by the police and prison officers, to make way for the president to march on to the old church on the avenue for a photo op.

The cruel and unprofessional acts of law enforcement officer in recent times were adequate triggers for the persistent riots. But the clear show of lack of empathy and deployment of troops for civil matters assaulted the sensibilities of the families of those that had suffered racial injustice and indeed projected the president as a racist himself, particularly because of his consistent rhetoric that tends to energise white supremacy.

The incidents in the past three weeks have thrown up the old issues of racism dogging the American society. If there had not been protests, the officers would not have been charged, as evident in the developments before the arrest of Chauvin and his three accomplices. For a country that is called Capital of the Free World, which also defied racial odds to produce a black president that ruled for eight years, nothing short of racial and social inclusion as well as maturity and peaceful co-habitation are expected. After centuries and decades of ups and downs on race matters, America is expected by now to live above petty issues as colour of the skin.

We believe that if America, which others emulate, does not get it right, the world may not get it right. There is a need for deep internal conversations on matters of race in the country to overcome this big mess that refuses to go away. As for the protests, healing by sensible and empathic rhetoric is what matters, not political grandstanding and militarization of the icon of democracy. In the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, these protests flout the social distancing rules and the consequences may be fatal. Leadership is what America needs now to avoid more health fatalities, not division and mass protests that will lead to a spike in community spread of the coronavirus.

 

 

 

YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THESE HEADLINES FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

Buy and read digital replicas of your TRIBUNE titles by subscribing through E-VENDING

Edo: APC Weighs Options, Fears PDP Takeover •Governors stick with Obaseki, Odubu adamant
Two weeks to the much-anticipated primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, national party chieftains are worried the ruling party in the state may end up gifting the governorship… Read full story

COVID-19: AfDB Approves $288.5m For Nigeria
The Board of Directors, African Development Bank (AfDB), on Friday, approved a $288.5 million loan to help Nigeria tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impact on people and businesses. In the latest report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), 79 per cent of the households in the country… Read full story

Why We Did Not Treat Raped Sales Girl —LUTH
The management of the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital (LUTH) has denied not treating on purpose an 18-year-old salesgirl, who was on Thursday raped by a dispatch rider. A twitter user @youdiee, who claimed to be the owner of the store where the rape incident took place had accused the hospital of neglecting the victim… Read full story

Surrender Or Be Disgraced, Buhari Tells Katsina Bandits
President Muhammadu Buhari has met with Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State over the rising wave of banditry in the state and advised criminals to surrender now or face a “disgraceful and violent end.” According to a statement issued by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity) in… Read full story

Edo, Ondo Primaries: APC Ready With Membership Registers —Isa-Onilu
National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lanre Isa-Onilu, has disclosed that the membership registers of the party for Edo and Ondo states are intact and current. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had told political parties wishing to conduct direct primaries in the… Read full story

COVID-19: Ondo Threatens Another Lockdown
Ondo State government on Friday threatened to reverse the decision to lift the ban on lockdown in the state should the number of COVID-19 cases keep on increasing. Tribune Online report that the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, on Special duties and Strategies, Dr Doyin Odebowale, gave this… Read full story

The New Normal: What COVID-19 Has Changed In Our Lives
SINCE the prevalence of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic compelled government at all levels in the country to shut down schools on March 23, being one of the containment mechanisms employed by advanced nations with worse incidence rate of the virus, Adeola Adeyemi and her siblings, like others in Nigeria… Read full story

Four Men Who Raped 13 Year Old Girl To Be Arraigned This Week
The four men who allegedly gang-raped a 13-year-old minor in Kaduna would be arraigned before a competent court of law this week. A reliable source at the Ministry of Human Services and Social Development told Sunday Tribune that the Central Investigation Department (CID) had concluded its findings… Read full story

My Father Was Close To Making Me A Carpenter’s Apprentice —Bode George
I am the real special model from my background. My great-grandfather was a reverend gentleman. He had a white horse and was born in Lagos and became a reverend. He was evangelising around Nupe area in present-day Niger State where there were Christians; then, he married a Nupe woman… Read full story

Nigerian Should Always Do Fact-Check On Politicians —Sani
Anthony Sani, the immediate-past Secretary-General and former Publicity Secretary of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), now a member of the Governing Council of Sir Ahmadu Memorial Foundation and of Northern Media Forum, speaks on 21 years of civil rule in the country and other issues … Read full story

I Still Have So Much To Offer – Ronke Oshodi-Oke
Ronke Oshodi-Oke is a household name, especially in the Yoruba movie industry having graced the screens for decades. The veteran actress, who is undergoing a rebranding process shares some of her plans on movie and music… Read full story

Majek Fashek And The Curse Of Drug Addiction
THE death of Nigerian singer-songwriter, guitarist and reggae music lord, Majek Fashek, in New York, America, last week threw Nigerians into a nostalgic mood. It brought into memory the exact picture of a musical icon who the country lost to the icy pincers of death. Reports of his passage sauced his strides on the dancehall… Read full story

Why Governors Are Jittery Of Financial Autonomy To State Legislature —Kaze
The autonomy of the judiciary and legislature is very important, I am proud of the 6th and 7th National Assembly because at a point in time the National Assembly both the Senate and House of Representatives actually voted for the financial autonomy of the state legislature but that bill failed at the state level because… Read full story

You might also like
Comments

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. AcceptRead More