Nationwide rebellion against police violence demands justice for George Floyd

People are protesting the killing in Minneapolis and St Paul as well as across the country.

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SOURCEPopular Resistance
Image Credit: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Minneapolis—The horrific killing of George Floyd in broad daylight with people watching and videotaping the incident while yelling at the police to stop is being described as a public lynching. It showed contempt for the lives of Black people by the police involved. It is one event of many that show police violence is a major national problem that people have seen too often. This is a pattern and practice of U.S. policing especially in black and brown communities. While four officers have been fired over the murder, none have yet been arrested despite the overwhelming evidence that they lied in their police report. They killed Floyd who did not resist the police and who cried out that he could not breathe.

People are protesting, calling for the arrest and incarceration of the officers involved. They chant “all four” because two other officers held Floyd down while a third stood silently by and kept people away from him.

But the prosecutor for Hennepin County, Mike Freeman, is saying he will not rush justice. He says he wants to build the case before there is an arrest. He points to the acquittals of the police charged in the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore and explains that is why he wants “to do this right.” He says he does not have enough evidence and needs to review it before making an arrest. In addition, he reports the four police under investigation are not cooperating and are remaining silent. However, an arrest can be made by police merely based on probable cause that a crime has been committed. After the arrest, the prosecutor can decide what to charge the officers with once the investigation is completed. The officers should be immediately arrested and put in jail.

People are protesting the killing in Minneapolis and St Paul as well as across the country. Police used rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades to try and control the crowds, but that made people more outraged, especially since white people with guns were treated differently during the recent reopen demonstrations. People living in communities of color have lost faith in the police and the ability of the government to protect them from police violence. This is much deeper than the murder of George Floyd.

The rebellion in response to the police murder is growing. More than a dozen cities are already planning more protests.

May 30 will be a National Day of Action “to stop the racist murder and violence” in Black communities. This action was called for by the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression before the murder of George Floyd. It was called in response to the recent the murders of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and Breonna Taylor in Louisville. And, it also calls for the release of prisoners during the Covid crisis as incarceration should not be a death sentence. For a list of cities and to join this day of action go to this page.

While there have been some prosecutions of police in the past, there have been few convictions. Police body cameras are now common, but sometimes they are turned off and otherwise have not stopped bad police behavior. We need to change the relationship between communities and the police. This requires the democratic community control of the police, where the people elect a board that has the power to investigate police, fire police, ensure proper training and have control over the police in their neighborhoods.

People who are Black and Brown live in a different country than people who are white. This has been a long time problem, not limited to recent years and not just going back decades, but to the founding of the country with the brutal African slave trade. The U.S. has never come to grips with its deep racism and structural violence or made amends for it through reparations and a truth and reconciliation process. We must awaken people and change the systemic racism, a reality that many white people deny but Black people confront on a daily basis.

The main killer, Derek Chauvin, has been a bad cop for a long time. It is amazing he is still on the police force. He had 18 prior complaints against him, only two of which resulted in disciplinary action. Protesters held a sign summarizing his record, which claimed he had been involved in a dozen events of police brutality and involved in previous shootings and deaths of civilians.

If there was black community control of the police in Minneapolis, police that are violent and racist would be removed from those communities and even fired. Rather than waiting to prosecute police who abuse their power after they kill someone, their careers would be ended democratically.

People protested at the police station and at the house of the police officer who killed Floyd. On Wednesday night, police cars were vandalized. At Chauvin’s house, scores of police surrounded the house, not to arrest the murderer but to keep people away. Red paint was splashed on the driveway and “A murderer lives here” was chalked on the street.

When police called for a bus to make mass arrests, they were refused. Today, the local transit union made this statement:

There is a mass reaction to the murder of Floyd. Police violence has been a longterm problem in Minnesota and much of the United States with approximately 1,000 people killed annually by police, mostly Black and Brown people. In many cities neglected communities live in struggle with a lack of jobs, inadequate education, housing, healthcare, transit, and other essentials. The police are seen as an occupying force and when police violence or police murder occurs, it results in a response that cannot be controlled. This is not new but has been true for decades.

Instead of discussing these long term problems, the media has focused on fires, broken windows and looting. It is not clear yet who is responsible for the damage. Some suspect it is being done by undercover police or right-wing infiltrators.

People are suspicious of this white man who was filmed wearing a mask and dressed in black breaking store windows. Some people believe they have identified him as police officer Jacob Pederson.

Former senator and presidential candidate Mike Gravel has called on Senator Amy Klobuchar to resign. She failed to prosecute Derek Chauvin, the primary killer of George Floyd, when he killed a civilian while she was the District Attorney. He also urges people to make donations to help pay the bail of people arrested protesting the murder.

Former Vice President Joe Biden would be wise to announce that Klobuchar is no longer being considered for vice president and urge her to resign from the senate. The Democratic Party needs to hold her accountable for allowing a racist and violent police officer to remain on the streets. If she had done her job, this death may not have happened.

A memorial fund on GoFundMe has raised over $1 million for the Official George Floyd Memorial Fund, which was created by his family.

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