Lebron James, Colin Kaepernick Demand Justice for George Floyd
As an African American and a mother of two children, I understand the fear of my children encountering the "wrong" officer. I've had to have the talk with my children: keep your hands visible, no matter what happens do not resist, be respectful. Why? So they can live. It's sad because I have many family and friends who work in law enforcement. They are all beautiful, genuine people who really care about the people they serve. God bless them for all that they do to keep us safe!
Unfortunately, a national study by The Guardian exposes alarming statistics. More than 258 black men and women were killed by police in 2015 and in 2016. Even more shocking is African Americans make up 13% of the U.S. population. In 2015, 36% and in 2016, 34% of these police killings were against unarmed men and women. From 2013 to 2019, 99% of the time, there was no accountability, as most officers never face any charges. Does this mean all police officers are bad? Absolutely not. There are far more good guys out there than bad. However, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to remove the bad guys from police departments across the nation. More also needs to be done to protect officers who point these people out.
Needless to say, the latest police brutality incidents have prompted nationwide protests, and pro athletes across the country have joined fellow Americans in the outcry. For them, they know if and when they take their uniforms off, they are just like the Eric Garners and George Floyds of the world. Then, Giants superstar quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, and some of his teammates took a knee in solidarity during the national anthem. They used their platform to bring about awareness and change.
The brutal truth is that African American are disproportionately killed by police in America and, in recent weeks, the killings have certainly been on the rise. Since March, three black people lost their lives at the hands of police. Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old certified EMT was sleeping when plainclothes officers fired 20 rounds into her apartment. Ahmaud Arbery was jogging when he was shot by a former cop and civilian. Now, with the George Floyd murder, things are looking eerily similar to the reason Kaep took a knee.
As a matter of fact, NBA megastar, Lebron James, made that very point on Instagram Tuesday (May 26). The devastating truth is that the reasons Kaepernick took a humble knee still resonates today in 2020. Back then, he said:
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder." — Colin Kaepernick, Aug. 26, 2016
Nothing can be clearer than that! Kaep took a knee in painful, silent protest against police brutality in America. His protest was for those who are no longer here, who could not stand up for themselves. He used his platform to bring awareness to a problem that, most of the time, happens to African Americans. In particular, to unarmed black men.
Police officers are supposed to serve and protect the community, not hunt and kill the very people they swore to defend. The NFL star tried to make a difference and for his unselfish deed, he was blackballed from playing football in the prime of his life. To this day, no team will touch him. What happened to us?
Sadly, the silence of the good guys is only perpetuating and enabling rogue officers to continue what they're doing. In their defense, they themselves would be putting their jobs and lives on the line if they do. That needs to change so they can feel safe to point these people out. Until then, while they remain onlookers as their partners kill human beings, they too will remain the problem, as is the case with the Minneapolis officer who deliberately put his knee on the neck of a defenseless George Floyd Monday afternoon. There were three other cops on the scene, but not one of them stepped in to help.
Bystanders shouted at the officer, "Get off his neck! How long are you going to pin him down?! He can't breathe! You are killing him, somebody do something!"
Everyone watched in horror as 46-year-old George Floyd begged the cop to get off his neck. He pleaded with the officer, "Please sir, I can't breathe. Please get off my neck," as he lied face down on the concrete with his arms behind his back and in handcuffs. He pleaded and begged the officer for ten minutes, until he finally lost consciousness. Through the entire ordeal, none of the other officers bothered to help him.
Floyd was subdued and posed no threat to the officers or anyone else when the officer had his knee on his neck, cutting off his air supply. In addition, Minneapolis mayor, Jacob Frey, questioned if Floyd's supposed crime required the amount of police force in the first place. He was reportedly being arrested for trying to use a fake $20 bill. So far, there has been no evidence presented to show Floyd was violent or resisted arrest. Which is why Mayor Frey wasted no time and fired all four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest.
The mayor announced on Twitter, "This is the right call." True enough, it was. Now these men need to be brought to justice, for Floyd and his family. Mayor Frey said the officers should be charged and called on the D.A.'s office to do its job.
Even the grocery store co-owner who called the cops said Floyd did not resist arrest. Mahmoud Abumayyaleh told CNN's Don Lemon that his store video surveillance caught the entire incident. He said it clearly shows Floyd never resisted arrest. Abaumayyaleh said he was deeply disturbed by what police did, and said George Floyd did not deserve to die.
Whatever George Floyd did, he was a human being first. He deserved, if nothing else, due process. He did not deserve to die. His sister and family friend, former NBA star Stephen Jackson, are among those devastated by Floyd's death.
Pro athletes across the nation expressed their outrage, pointing to the reason Colin Kaepernick kneeled in silent protest to police brutality. This disgusting trend continues to happen, and athletes join the nation to say enough. Speaking out are NFL wide receiver Nathan Palmer and Formula One star Lewis Hamilton, according to ESPN.
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt said Wednesday during a press conference,
"I've seen the video, and I think it's disgusting," Watt continued. "I think that there's no explanation. I mean, to me, it doesn't make any sense. I just don't see how a man in handcuffs on the ground, who is clearly detained and clearly saying, in distress ... I don't understand how that situation can't be remedied in a way that doesn't end in his death. I think that it needs to be addressed. Strongly, obviously."