Protestors in Cincinnati joined other cities Friday night after Police Officer Chauvin killed George Floyd in Minneapolis. Photo by Tai Sims / Cincinnati Herald.
By Herald Staff, Black
Press of America Staff, and
From the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul to the streets of Cincinnati, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Louisville, Atlanta, Washington, DC, and New York City, people are expressing outrage over the police killing of George Floyd, the latest in a country-mile long list of Black men and women murdered under the color of law.
On Friday, May 29, former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, 44, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter after inexplicably bearing his weight on his knee which rested on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes in the process of arresting him for allegedly buying a pack of cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. Floyd, who was handcuffed and lying face down on the ground, repeatedly told Chauvin he could not breathe and called for his mother as the life was being squeezed out of him. The video of a bystander captured the execution in horrifying detail, as onlookers begged Chauvin, who kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for three minutes after he stopped breathing. He died a short time later at a local hospital.
The four police officers involved in Floyd’s death were immediately fired. Two of them held down Floyd’s legs during the killing. A video recently surfaced showing Chauvin beating Floyd in the police car before landing him facedown on the ground.
Finally, on Friday, May 29 Chauvin was arrested and bail was set at $500,000. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Outcries over the incident and for the arrests of the three officers accompanying Chauvin — Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao — which had not occured at the time this article went to press, prompted major protests in most major cities in the country, including Cincinnati, over the past weekend and into the week.
Earlier, former President Barack Obama released a statement weighing in on the injustice regularly experienced by African Americans.
“This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America. It can’t be ‘normal,’” Obama stated. “If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better.
Margaret Huang, president, and chief executive officer of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), said the organization joins with its allies in condemning the recent police killings of Floyd, Tony McDade, Sean Reed, and Breonna Taylor.
“Following the tragic killing of Ahmaud Arbery by a former police officer, the impact of these murders reaches across the country, and there must be accountability… Equally important, law enforcement must stop responding to peaceful protest of police killings with more violence. Police are obligated to protect those in the community, and punishing peaceful protest is a gross abuse of human rights” Huang stated.
Florida Rep. Val Demings, who is Black and a former Orlando police chief, wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post Friday, noting that, “as a former woman in blue: What in the hell are you doing?”
“As law enforcement officers, we took an oath to protect and serve. And those who forgot — or who never understood that oath in the first place — must go. That includes those who would stand by as they witness misconduct by a fellow officer,” she wrote.
“Everything went blank”, Bridgett Floyd, the sister of George Floyd, told Good Morning America. “I had a very hard time taking that in,” she stated. She said she thought she was dreaming when told of her brother;s death. She has so far refused to watch the disturbing video.
“I can’t breathe, please, the knee in my neck,” George Floyd can be heard saying in the video as he’s pinned to the ground and clearly not resisting. “I can’t move — my neck. I’m through; I’m through,” he said.
According to the complaint, officers were dispatched to Cup Foods on the report of a man buying merchandise with a counterfeit $20 bill. Shortly after 8 p.m., Officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng arrived with their body camera activate and recording.
The Officers learned from store workers that the man, later identified as Floyd. was parked in a car around the corner.
Body camera footage shows the officers approaching the car with Lane on the driver’s side and Kueng on the passenger side. Three people were in the car: Floyd, another man and another woman.
As Lane began speaking with Floyd, he pulled out his gun, pointed it at Floyd and ordered him to show his hands. Floyd then put his hands on the steering wheel and Lane holstered his firearm.
Lane then ordered Floyd out of the car and handcuffed him. Once handcuffed, police said Floyd did not resist and walked with Lane to the sidewalk. Floyd then sat on the ground at Lane’s
The complaint says Lane spoke with Floyd for under two minutes, asking Floyd for his identification and name. He also asked Floyd if he was “on anything” and told Floyd he was going to be arrested for passing counterfeit currency.
Then, Lane and Keung stood Floyd up and attempted to take him to their squad car. Floyd then “stiffened up, fell to the ground and told the officers he was claustrophobic.”
That’s when Officers Chauvin and Tou Thao arrived on the scene in a separate squad car.
The complaint says that Floyd began saying and repeating he could not breathe while standing outside the car. Chauvin then went to the passenger side and tried to get Floyd in from that side, with Lane and Keung assisting.
Chauvin then pulled Floyd out of the passenger side of the car at 8:19 p.m. and Floyd went to the ground face down while still handcuffed.
While Keung and Lane held Floyd’s back and legs, Chauvin “placed his left knee in the area of Mr. Floyd’s head and neck.” Floyd could be heard repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe,’’ as well as “mama” and “please.” The officers, however, stayed in their positions.
At 8:24 p.m., Floyd stopped moving. Kueng then checked Floyd’s right wrist for a pulse and said, “I couldn’t find one.” The officers continued to hold their positions.
At 8:27 p.m., Chauvin removed his knee from Floyd’s neck as medics arrived. Floyd was taken away away in the ambulance. He was pronounced dead at Hennepin Healthcare.
Harold “DJ HD” Douglas, Iris Roley, State Rep. Sedrick Denson, Cincinnati Councilmember Jeff Pastor and Cincinnati NAACP Vice President Joe Mallory convened a peaceful protest in Washington Park in downtown Cincinnati to show solidarity for the recent events that resulted in the murdering of George Floyd by police officers.
Douglas said, “As a Black man you cling to your dignity and self respect in order to tell yourself you matter in a world that doesn’t really care about you. Then when you encounter police you have to immediately abandon that same dignity and self respect that brought you whatever mental stability you have, to protect your life.