By: Ray Woods
On May 25th, 2020 while our nation was still engulfed in the aftermath of having to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on our lives, George Floyd, a 46 year old African American man, died in Minneapolis, Minnesota(1).
George Floyd died with his face down on the pavement bleeding from his nose, handcuffed and restrained under the pressure of 3 officers. Two at the ankles, and one officer with his knee buried firmly on his neck.
Many reports have since then stated he died pleading for his deceased mother while proclaiming he couldn’t breath, but to the contrary, when I watched the slue of videos posted online of such a public murder and widely denounced abuse of police authority, I saw a man that died in silence. I saw a man that died under the pressure of a grown man’s body weight being applied firmly on his neck, in silence.
For over 4 and a half minutes George Floyd lied silent on a city street under the knee of an officer of the law. For over 4 and a half minutes George Floyd laid in silence, with no apparent sign of life or desire to resist arrest. However, it was not just George Floyd’s silence and lifeless body still being restrained at the ankles and under the weight of a firm knee of an officer of the law that was eerie. It was the silence of the officer committing the atrocity that left a stain on my memory for years to come. It was the look in his eyes. I didn’t see joy. I didn’t see fear. I saw intent to subdue a captive by obstructing that captive’s ability to breath, and again, I watched that action without hearing one definitive word from the apparent murdering officer himself. I heard nothing from the 3 officers restraining George Floyd for 4 and a half minutes while George Floyd laid in silence, with no apparent sign of life or desire to resist arrest. Yes, there was a 4th officer on the scene that was very vocal as he stood guard over their prey, but the 3 officers that actually physically held George Floyd in restraints remained silent.
I heard nothing from four souls engulfed in what would soon be a firestorm of backlash, because while those 4 souls left a stain of silence on my memory that I may never forget, the CHILDREN that looked on in disbelief did not. The CHILDREN plead for officers of the law to let George Floyd breathe. A man that identified himself as someone who had trained in “the academy” pleaded the officers to take their knee off of George Floyd’s neck, and ironically a woman who identified herself as a Minneapolis City Firefighter pleaded that the arresting officers take their knee off George Floyd’s neck. Neither seemed to matter. Even as the woman who had captured over nine minutes of very damning evidence on video asked if they had just killed George Floyd, the arresting officers still continued to restrain their captive in silence. Even as children and a self-identified Minneapolis City Firefighter pleaded with the arresting officers to check for a pulse, the arresting officers kneeled in silence as if mesmerized by the flames of the firestorm that would result.
Just three days later a very literal fire would engulf the 3rd precinct of Minneapolis’ Police Department. And, a wildfire of protests would inflame many major cities throughout all 50 of this nation’s United States, Mexico City, Rio de Janerio, Buenos Aires, Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Tel Aviv, Haifa, East Jerusalem, and several cities throughout Canada, Nigeria, Kenya, Australia and New Zealand thus far. The European Union even went as far as to say it was “shocked and appalled” by the death of Floyd, calling it “an abuse of power” and warned against further excessive use of force.
Still as the flames of protests burn brightly around the world, as CHILDREN plead for justice for George Floyd, it’s the silence of those four men engulfed in its igniting spark that have left a stain that I can not forget.
See something, say something.
In memory of George Floyd, Speak Out.
Stem the spread of COVID-19 and stop the spread of racism.