Protesters Are Defending Themselves After Being Criticised For Rioting Over George Floyd’s Deathby Rachael Conaghan
On Monday, George Floyd was killed by police in Minnesota.
George was black; Derek Chauvin, the police officer seen kneeling on the back of his neck, was white. It’s a familiar story in America — some of George’s last words even echoed those of another black American who was killed by police six years ago: “I can’t breathe”.
We know that because his last moments were caught in a video which has since gone viral. The horrific nine minute clip contradicts the police’s initial story, which said Floyd was physically resisting arrest.
They suspected him of using a counterfeit $20 note.
Now, the anger and devastation over the death of another black man at the hands of police have led to riots breaking out across America.
They started on the streets of Minneapolis where George was killed and have been met by police in riot gear. They fired tear gas and non-lethal rounds into the crowd — a dramatic difference to the way they handled protests from (mainly white) Americans last week, who protested for the country to lift its coronavirus restrictions.
The anger has since escalated, with shops being set on fire and looted. One man has also been shot dead, allegedly by a shop owner.
Protests have since spread across the country to cities including New York and Los Angeles.
The riots have copped a lot of criticism — but protestors are fiercely defending their methods, with one man pointing out that “rioting is what happens when justice drags its feet”.
All four police involved in the arrest have been fired, and George’s sister is calling for them to be charged with murder. The FBI is now investigating.
Today Michael Freeman, the Hennepin Country attorney, called the police’s use of force “excessive and wrong”.
But he sparked more anger when discussing whether any of the officers involved in Floyd’s death would be charged.
“I will say this, that video is graphic and horrific and terrible and no person should do that,” he told reporters.
“But my job in the end is to prove he violated a criminal statute. And there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge. We need to wade through all of that evidence and come to a meaningful decision and we are doing that to the best of our ability.”
The US Attorney for the district of Minnesota, Erica MacDonald, also said her department is investigating whether the officers committed a crime.
“Police officers, by the nature of their job, have the authority to use a certain amount of force when they are executing their duties faithfully and honestly and in accordance with their policies,” she said
“So a police officer, a law enforcement officer, has the ability to use the right amount of force, but not excessive force, not excessive force as defined by the law. That is what we are looking at with respect to any federal, criminal violation, is that use of excessive force.”
Feature Image: Twitter/ @CapsuleScarab15