Floyd’s Last Breath and White House Gloom
By: Mudasir Ahamad
In 2014 George Floyd – an African American, moved to Minneapolis to find work for earning livelihood. He had lost his security job due to covid-19 pandemic. He then working as a truck driver. One day he got off the truck and started walking to ‘CUP FOODS’ for buying a pack of cigarettes. Suddenly an employee at his service rang up to police for counterfeiting of $20 bill by George Floyd for cigarettes after which police reached the spot and arrested him on paying forgery bill to the cup food’s employee who made a complaint against him. Thereupon he was handcuffed and then dragged to the streets.
One of the police officers, Derek Chauvin, pinned him to the floor and knelt on his neck. There were several bystanders who had clicked pics and clips of the live incident when George Floyd was restrained by Derek Chauvin. CCTV cameras, video footages also showed the physical torment. In this precarious moment he uttered some painful words ‘I can’t breathe’, Help! Help!’And few more words in which he haplessly called out his mother. This video came to the limelight after his death.
According to some newspaper reports George Floyd was a regular customer at ‘Cup Foods’. What was the reason behind this incident and who acted as a conspirator and on what grounds was he killed? There may be many reasons that led to his killing but it is sure that the most visible reason for this was racism! Floyd was black and there is a history of this race suffering racism in Minnesota. They have no privileges and scarcely avail any benefit from the US government and instead they are denied civil rights. There have been many such incidents in Minneapolis on the basis of racism in which many black men have been killed so far and Floyd was not the first victim. In 2014, a similar incident happened with Eric Garner an unarmed African-American man who met a similar fate in New York. As of the 2010 census the total population of Minneapolis was 382,578 with about 18.6% blacks compared to 63.8% whites.
It was a sad day for US and for humanity in general and the incident quickly sparked anger across the world. Even developed countries are now insecure to tackle such heinous issues in order to facilitate good governance and self-reliability. It also led, for the first time, several hundred citizens, from all races, to assemble at White House holding protests demonstrations against the killing of Floyd. Citizens all and sundry of USA angrily turned out to be much aggressive and delirious. They were fraught with strong effrontery after the news came to them. They held protests against the killing and by June 3rd nearly a 1000 people had been arrested and at least 5 died in the unrest.
This yanked the USA government with strong force to realize the intensity of public conflagration during the unrest. It was a premier warning for the government to remain awake before criminalizing any citizen on the pretext of getting involved in any offence. In fierce demonstrations people tried to acknowledge the value of life and rights of each citizen of all colors and races. These protests went on for several weeks and finally got the law to acknowledge the incident and initiate action.
When developed countries like USA discriminates on the basis of color with the intention to marginalize a huge number of its own citizens, the result will definitely be a constant uprising and disturbances in the country. Black races are in quagmire in America for a very long time and such intimidations and reprimands by police have made their life miserable and distressful. The worst scenario is in Minneapolis where black skin gets lesser opportunities in contrast with the whites in case of Education, good health care and employment opportunities. They feel as if they are second-class citizens. Such racial abuses, as the killing of Flyod, aren’t uncommon in other parts of America as several reports suggest that incidents of this nature are reported from nearly all states.
The Author is pursuing M.Sc from Kashmir University.