This morning I woke up to the news of George Floyd’s death. A truly horrific death of a fellow human being…. pinned to the ground with the sustained pressure of a police officer’s weight and knee on his neck. A death that was avoidable….a death that was witnessed by multiple bystanders…bystanders who pled with the officer to lift his weight from George’s neck…..appealed to the officers to listen as George cried out about not being able to breath….cried out as his face was ground into the asphalt and his nose began to bleed…..begged again to stop as he passed out. Again, and again different voices asked to please check if George had a pulse…. but it didn’t happen. Every movement forward by the distressed bystanders to help repetitively being perceived as a threat by the officers
Like many others I’m struggling to understand how this happened. How?!? How does someone…a police officer at that…ignore the pleas of a man in his custody…the pleas of a crowd to stop his actions…and persist in a dangerous action that cost a human being’s life? What happened in that moment that it was more important to continue to kneel on his neck than to listen, pause and check on the welfare of a fellow human being? Why couldn’t the officers see their actions were escalating the situation as they deafened themselves to the distress of George and the bystanders witnessing their action? When did it become more important to be in the perceived “right” that we stopped questioning the validity of our position and action….especially at the expense of a human life?? Why couldn’t the officers accept that they were in the wrong, adjust their actions and ensure everyone’s safety? I’m struggling to make sense of this non-sense.
Then throw in the story of Amy Cooper…and you just want to pull your hair out. When?!? Why did she think it was acceptable as a privileged white woman to threaten a Black man (who was holding her accountable for her wrong action ; reminding her to leash her dog in an ecologically fragile area)….threatening and following through with a false report to the police that she was being assaulted by an African American man. She was so angry about her own wrongness that her knee jerk reaction was to make a false allegation that would endanger the life of a fellow human being who had less privilege than her. The fucking hubris….I just can’t today. I need to start this day over again. I have never experienced this level of despondency from being a witness to my fellow human beings’ actions. I am so disappointed in us…we know better…we can do better…and yet some of us chose to do our very worst.