On May 26, hundreds of protesters were attacked by police in the city of Minneapolis during a protest against the murder of George Floyd, an African-American man, by a police officer on Monday May 25.
Protesters gathered at the intersection where Lloyd was murdered on Tuesday May 26 after the news of his death spread over social media. A memorial for Floyd was organized and people chanted against the police and held up signs condemning institutionalized racism in the US.
Protests were also held outside the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd precinct office building, the circle to which the accused police officers belonged to. Eye witness accounts over social media alleged that police were found using tear gas, drones and riot gear to disperse the crowd, leading to a violent clash at the scene.
According to reports, the murder of Floyd, which was aired live over social media by bystanders, happened in a violent attempt by the police to apprehend him for allegedly issuing a fake cheque. Floyd was sitting in the car when four white police officers approached him. The police alleged that Floyd tried to “resist arrest”. However, eyewitness accounts from the day have accused the police of disproportionate violence.
In the live video that went viral over social media, Floyd can be found pinned to ground by two police officers, with one of them kneeling on his neck for nearly five minutes. Passers-by and bystanders during the incident were seen pleading the police to release him from the stranglehold. Floyd himself could be heard pleading, telling the officers that he “can’t breathe”.
Officers can be heard telling Floyd to “relax” even though he was rendered immobile. After over five minutes of kneeling on his neck, Floyd died from suffocation. The police officers released his body after realizing he was dead, and threatened eyewitnesses who were approaching with pepper spray if they came closer. The live video that went viral prompted widespread outrage across the US against racial murders by the police, targeting black people.
The four officers were fired from by the Minneapolis mayor, Jacob Frey on Tuesday and a federal investigation was initiated against them on the same day. But past experiences with such murders have almost always end up with very minor or no punishments imposed on the accused officers.
Civil rights activist and lawyer, Benjamin Crump, who has represented similar cases of police violence, including Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Martin Lee-Anderson, will be representing Floyd’s family against the accused officers. Crump told the media, “this is abusive, excessive and inhumane use of force cost the life of a man who was being detained by the police for questioning about a non-violent charge.”
“How many ‘while black’ deaths will it take until the racial profiling and undervaluing of black lives by police finally ends?,” Crump added.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation released a statement on Tuesday condemning the murder and stated, “Firing the officers is not enough. Officer Derek Chauvin, and his three police accomplices, must be immediately arrested and charged. Justice can only begin with a conviction and sentencing of all involved!” They also highlighted that despite lockdown measures being in place across much of the country, “the oppression of Black people still remains and has in fact surged in the wake of one of the largest public health crises in recent history.”
— PSL Minneapolis (@PSLMPLS) May 27, 2020
The firing of the four officers who killed George Floyd is insufficient. Today, the Twin Cities erupted to demand real justice for Floyd, his family, and his community. pic.twitter.com/WRbcp2SMoe
— PSL Minneapolis (@PSLMPLS) May 27, 2020
PHOTO | Riots have broken out in Minneapolis, Minnesota as thousands took to the streets and surrounded a police station to demand justice for #GeorgeFloyd, a Black man who was killed after police choked him by kneeling on his neck. pic.twitter.com/FbNYNGilhm
— Antifa_Ultras (@ultras_antifaa) May 27, 2020
Aerial footage from yesterday’s protests in Minneapolis in response to police killing #GeorgeFloyd. This is probably the largest public US demonstration over police brutality since the onset of the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/kwlnkPIVsc
— Aaron L. Morrison (@aaronlmorrison) May 27, 2020
— Marlo BarksDale (@3_One_3) May 27, 2020
Last night the streets of Minneapolis were filled with people seeking justice for George Floyd. pic.twitter.com/gshNX5HXeD
— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) May 27, 2020
The murder of the of a 46-year-old George Floyd, in Minneapolis on May 25, brought back memories of Eric Garner, who was murdered in similar circumstances in New York back in 2014.