While all unjust deaths of black men at the hands of white police officers are a wicked manifestation of something terribly wrong in terms of how America is policed, the death of George Floyd is far different, far worse. In the vast majority of cases (Eric Garner being the glaring exception) black men die from gunfire; from rounds fired by a nervous or simply racist cop, but often during a chase or some other external factor that gets their adrenaline pumping — a feeling many cops crave and go out of their way to create as justification of their actions.
But in the case of Floyd, Officer Derek Chauvin (with the assistance of three other officers) had him on the ground handcuffed behind his back and then with malice aforethought, kept his knee on the defenseless man’s carotid artery until he was no longer breathing. And he did so in spite of Floyd begging for his life by stating that he couldn’t breathe and a group of civilian witnesses yelling at the cops that they were killing the man.
Of course the authorities are now saying that Floyd died at the hospital, but it’s obvious from the multiple videos of the heinous crime that he had ceased breathing and was comatose when the ambulance arrived. Chauvin had no intention of taking his knee off of Floyd’s neck until all of the life was out of his body, and the scary thing was, he was looking right at the camera as he was doing the grisly deed.
Soon apologists for police brutality will began their well-worn chorus of “No cop starts his shift seeking to kill someone.” Really? Then what about the group of cops and sheriff’s deputies in Los Angeles a decade or so ago that formed a club where all of the members who had shot someone got a pistol tattooed on their left shoulder, and when they finally killed someone they could add to the tattoo: Smoke would be coming out of the barrel of the gun. But that was an anomaly, the only club like that in the United States, right? Wrong.
Even in Eric Garner’s case there was a struggle, and a scrum of four or five cops involved with tempers were flaring because of the fight they had initiated, none of which negates the fact it was still a case of murder. But in Floyd’s case it’s calm, calculated, cold-blooded murder.
In front of the entire world, a black man was summarily executed sans trial by jury or sentencing by a judge in Minneapolis on Monday. This killing goes so far beyond the pale that it’s hard to imagine anything worse perpetrated by a law enforcement officer acting under color of authority — and know this America, there’s going to be hell to pay this time.