On Monday, May 25th, George Floyd—a 46-year-old black man—died at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer who pinned George's neck to the ground with his knee, despite his repeated cries of "I can't breathe" and “I’m about to die". Despite George's full compliance with the police, his pleas went unheard until his body went limp. Shortly after, he was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
The sole consequence for murdering an innocent man, throwing a loving family into permanent grief, and taking advantage of a broken system created to oppress minorities? Job loss for the four officers involved.
This was not an isolated incident. Rather, it served as a microcosm of the severity of police brutality in the United States of America and the systematic racism that pervades state institutions meant to deliver justice. African Americans in the United States are 5 times more likely to be incarcerated than Caucasian citizens (NAACP, 2014) and although African Americans and Hispanics make up about 32% of the national population, they represent 56% of those incarcerated in correctional facilities (NAACP, 2015).
The fact of the matter is, if you are not a person of colour, you will likely never be unreasonably apprehended by police, nor will you need to fear the very people meant to protect you. Police brutality is a systemic issue and to ignore these issues and continue to idolize authority would be to look at the issue with blinding privilege.
How many more lives are we going to sacrifice?
To donate to the official George Floyd Memorial fund, please visit https://ca.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd.
Art by Juliana Dioquino.