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I Can't Breathe

 

I wanted to give my interpretation, share a story and some facts following the painful death of George Floyd. As many have seen, the graphic images and video show George Floyd being killed by a law enforcement officer with a knee on the back of his neck earlier this week. America’s history is not short of these kinds of cases, the killing of Travon Martin, Michael Brown & Breonna Taylor, to name a recent few. Following these killings, America has seen an uproar with widespread protest sometimes leading to civil unrest and looting. 

 

In the latest case, George Floyd can be seen and heard pleading with the officers to stop applying pressure on his neck saying repeated “I can breathe”. The question is whether or not the officer involved was in line of his duty. When we discuss duty, a law enforcement officer’s essential duty is to protect people and property. To be in line of his duty, the officer would need to show that George still posed a threat to merit reasonable force being used for arrest. How much threat can a person pose when they are in handcuffs? A person in handcuffs can cause little or no harm! It doesn’t take a genius to know that applying pressure to someones neck for a considerable duration of time (5-10 minutes - I couldn't watch the whole video) could and would result in death. The officer making the arrest shows a complete disregard of protecting the life of George Floyd, even as spectators yelled to check on Floyd’s well-being, which was completed ignored, displaying a level of pure inhumanity. 

 

To add more fire to the fuel, the officer in question since, has only been fired. How can an officer do something like this, be caught on camera on still hasn’t been arrested and charged? The message being sent out is that he could've been acting within his duty. The officer also had 18 prior complaints filed against him. To fire someone usually means a form of misconduct has occurred. Considering the nature of the breach of conduct, resulting in death, why hasn’t an arrest been made? Usually for an arrest to be made, probable cause must be proven whilst the prosecution gather up all the evidence to attend court. Everything in the footage suggests that enough probably cause for arrest can be seen. Or are our eyes lying to us? Or are we to accept a dismissal as enough repercussion for the sinister act.

Also, for the complicit officers who watched as another officer who in the eyes of millions overstepped his boundaries in the protection of persons, why haven’t they been arrested and held accountable? Officers are supposed to protect human life, first and foremost, so interrupting a fellow officer overstepping his duty is well within their powers and DUTY. There are some serious questions being asked by millions around the world. rightly so, who are watching the events unfold. Leading to widespread anger, protesting and rioting. 

I, and A2A3 as a brand, do not agree with the looting! This compromises businesses within a community that need jobs and opportunities more than ever, considering the pandemic hitting the world at large. However, there is an argument that when people feel unheard, rioting happens. Riots happen when people feel they are being unheard. 

 

As Martin Luther King said:

“A riot is the language of the unheard”.

For years the Black Lives Matter movement have protested to get the very changes needed to prevent such killings from occurring and as we can see from recent events, have fallen on deaf ears. I just wanted to share my viewpoint. Every life is important, including every black life. If someone is already in handcuffs, irrespective of his colour or supposed crime committed, he is no longer a threat to the life of the public or the officers in question. To have your knee placed on the back of someone's neck as he screams for help and even a cry for help to his mother is a total an injustice. The officers only being fired is an even greater injustice and as there are many instances where an officers can resume places of work after being fired. Furthermore, to criticise the way in which people express their anger is also an injustice. 

 

It is clear that the american justice system needs some serious reform. However, this is not only an issue plaguing america. This is the most prevalent case of the day whereby black people are treated like second class citizen irrespective of the country. It is great to see some more voices coming from people of other colours and I would encourage others to speak and act on the matter in their own way to help the unheard voices heard. I speak on this matter personally as the first and only time I was arrested, an officer placed his knee right into my spine for a long duration of time. I told the officer repeatedly that I would comply with all of his requests and did not resist at all. He ignored me repeatedly which ENRAGED me. After some minutes of feeling the pain I began to yell at the top of my lungs for him to remove his knee from my spine to which he continued to ignore, even with on-lookers telling him to do so also. I was arrested, stayed in a cell for a night and after leaving in the early morning, I still felt the pain in my spine for 3 weeks later. As I saw the video, I thought to myself, what if that officer placed his knee on the back of my neck instead of my spine? I may not be here today to write this and share this. 

 

I hope some serious change comes to avoid such sad events from happening however, judging from previous situations like this, nothing will be done. Leading to another sad case, social media uproar and more protest.

 


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