Nationwide protests erupted in America with people holding placards with “I can’t breathe” and “Black lives matter” written over it after George Floyd was killed on 26th May by Police. The 46-year old African-American died in Minneapolis after a police officer kept kneeling on his neck even after he kept on stating that he couldn’t breathe. A video of the incident was widely shared on Social media and was broadcasted by media.
Floyd, who was a resident of Minnesota, was arrested on Monday after being accused of using a counterfeit $20 note. Police claimed that he physically resisted, as a result of which they had to resort to kneeling on his neck. The video footage that was released after Floyd’s death showed that he had a police officer kneeling on him for at least seven minutes. He can be heard repeatedly saying that he couldn’t breathe but the officer continued kneeling on him that ultimately led to his death.
Many took to streets to protest against the killings of Black people living in America and demanded justice for the deceased. Largely peaceful protests took place throughout America during Saturday daytime hours which turned violent during the night. Overnight curfew was imposed in order to control the situation, but many defied the curfew and stayed on the streets to protest. The protestors said that they would continue to protest till the four officers involved in the incident are charged. Derek Chauvin, the police officer behind Floyd’s death has been charged with third degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
US president Donald Trump has been widely criticized for his reaction to the situation after he threatened the use of force against the protestors in the tweet. He referred to protestors as “thugs” and has tweeted against the protests since they first erupted in the country.
Trump said that he had spoken to family of George Floyd. But according to his brother, Philonise Floyd, he wasn’t given any opportunity to speak and the president had no interest at all. He said in an interview to MSNBC, “It was hard. I was trying to talk to him, but he just kept, like, pushing me off, like ‘I don’t want to hear what you’re talking about.’
Killing of George Floyd sparked demonstrations against Police brutality and their biasness against African-Americans. Even after constituting only 13 per cent of the total population, they are two-and-a-half times more likely to be targeted by American police than a white man. Other high profile deaths include the shooting of Philando Castile in 2016, Eric Garner in 2014 and Trayvon Martin in 2013.