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28th May 2020

George Floyd: The double standards of American policing


george floyd

‘I can’t breathe’

Earlier this month a large group of armed white, right-wing Americans entered the state capitol building of Michigan to protest against the state’s coronavirus lockdown.

By any reasonable consideration, the possession of a firearm suggests the threat of violence. So what did police at the state capitol building do in the face of these gun-toting, aggressive and screaming protesters?

Nothing. They stood there, steely-faced, staring directly ahead and avoiding, at every step, from escalating the situation.

On Monday, black man George Floyd was pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer who was kneeling on his neck for eight minutes. Floyd became unresponsive and died shortly afterwards.

Footage of his death and the role of the police officers was released online. The four officers involved have lost their jobs, and the death of yet another African American at the hands of the police has provoked massive protests in the country.

But unlike those heavily armed and aggressive white protesters screaming for the opportunity to get a haircut at the state capitol, these protesters – who are calling for justice for a man who shouldn’t have died – have been met with forceful action by the police.

Instead of standing still, facing forward and respecting the protesters as they had so politely done earlier this month, police in Minneapolis have thrown tear gas and are kitted out in riot gear, more an army ready to fight back than a police force whose sole purpose is to protect and serve.

This is America.