I can’t breathe…

I’m sure most of us will associate the words ‘I can’t breathe’ with the murder of George Floyd for many, many years to come. Probably forever. The latest protests in the United States that were ignited by the barbaric murder of George Floyd by police is so disturbing. What kind of a human kneels on the throat of another human being while being assisted by three others of his ilk? Three others who assisted, not by showing humanity and protecting Mr Floyd as police should do. No, they chose to participate in killing him. Unsurprisingly, Mr Floyd was a black man who did not resist in anyway as witnessed by the whole world in the video that was taken.

Three of the four policemen from the Minneapolis Police Department who murdered Mr Floyd had a number of previous complaints of brutality filed against them. No charges were ever laid against them. But their latest actions have led to more than 250 protests across the United States. The world is now witnessing police brutality like never before.  The news footage is sickening. Police using their shields to shove an elderly man with a walking stick to the ground cracking his head open. Running down protestors in their police cars. Pepper spraying a resident in the face at close range. Belting peaceful protestors with batons. Spraying a woman with gas then kicking her over ….. The police brutality has prompted most countries around the world to stage their own protests in support of the movement, Black Lives Matter.

A slight challenge for the police are the violent opportunists and rioters who are hijacking the organised peaceful protests across the United States. The hijackers usually come out at night after the peaceful protestors go home. In their dark clothing and black masks, armed with homemade weapons, bricks and cans of spray paint they are prepared for a night of looting and rioting. As well as destroying everything and stealing everything insight, from fridges to cheesecakes, they have a fetish for burning things; buildings, police cars and anything else they can set alight.  It has been reported that the looters and rioters are mostly white and many had planned for violence in advance.

This is devastating for the peaceful protesters who are supporting Black Lives Matter in the hope of seeking justice for Mr Floyd and all those who suffered the same fate before him. News footage showing the look of despair on a female protestor’s face using a megaphone to beg people to stop the violence says it all. Even Mr Floyd’s brother Terence condemned the violence. He told news reporters that his brother George was a man of peace and that he would want people to channel their anger towards seeking justice starting with a change at all levels of government.

It was starting to look unlikely that justice for Mr Floyd would be achieved after the initial coroner’s report that indicated Mr Floyd died of an underlying medical condition resulting in a heart attack.  Well hellooo? An independent medical report requested by the family indicated that George Floyd was a healthy young man and the cause of death was asphyxiation.  Well of course it was. The whole world could see that Mr Floyd was being choked to death by those barbarians. The doctor who conducted the autopsy for the family has called for a charge of first degree murder.

Speaking of government, it’s obvious nothing will change until all the white supremacists and their supporters are removed from office. Is that most of them? At the moment there is no leadership in the United States of America.  There is a puffed-up buffoon, ex-reality TV show actor at the helm who goes by the stage name of President Trump. Trump has shown no leadership, not a shred of empathy and incites violence and racism. He calls the protestors thugs, tells them to calm down and tweets things like ‘when the looting starts, the shooting starts’. Apparently, that comment was originally made in 1967 by the racist Miami police chief of the day. When the Trump trap gets too much out of control (most of the time) the Secret Service hide him in a bunker for his own safety. The bunker was built for use during terrorist attacks.

A couple of days ago, President Trump emerged from his bunker and descended the steps of the White House theatre. He declared ‘I am your president of law and order and an ally to all people’ followed by ‘I will bring in the United States military to quickly solve the problem’.  Police then released flash bang grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas to dispel peaceful protestors in Lafayette Park (near the White House) to clear the path for Trump and his entourage of about seventy suits to walk St John’s Church. On arrival at the church Trump held up the Bible for a photo shoot before strolling back to the White House. Words fail me here.

Australia

When people say that something like this would never happen in Australia, shame on you. At an LA demonstration an Australian television reporter told the young man she was interviewing that people in Australia don’t understand.

I really appreciate you giving your perspective mate, because people in Australia don’t have the understanding of the history of police killings and things here’.

Wake up and educate yourself before making outrageous statements! It happens all the time. We treat black people the same way. Police brutality against indigenous people has been happening in Australia since white people invaded this country.

The day after that report a 16 year-old youth in New South Wales had his legs kicked from under him slamming him to the ground. The teenager was crying out in pain as excessive force was being used to handcuff him while he was lying on the ground. As usual, another couple of police were standing around gawking. The NSW police commissioner’s response to the incident was that the officer had had a bad day??

And let’s not forget

Since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody ended in 1991 there have been more than 434 deaths in custody without a single police conviction.

Finally, if you still think Australia is this wonderful country that treats everyone fairly, just listen to Australian actor Meyne Wyatt’s powerful speech. (ABC – Q and A program, 8 June, 2020). That says it all.

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One Response

  1. When Aboriginal people are incarcerated at five times the rate of African American people, there surely is plenty of work to do here too.

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