Murder. It was murder. That much is plain to see. The video tells no lies. I will forever hear George Floyd’s cries, see his anguished lifeless eyes.
But what will the jury in Derek Chauvin’s trial for murder see? What if it was me instead of George Floyd beneath a white cop’s knee? How can we still hold to the faintest hope of justice and equality in America if the jury sets this murderer free?
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George Floyd is me. And I am George Floyd. I am Eric Garner. I am Ahmaud Arbery. I am Philando Castile. I am Mike Brown. Medgar Evers and Emmett Till. Fred Hampton and Mark Clark.
I am Rodney King. Father to Trayvon Martin. Tamir Rice. Laquan McDonald. Daunte Wright.
We dwell in a land, where flag-waving “patriots” drape themselves in so-called democracy for all, except for folks Black like me. An America that slays unarmed Black men. That shoots us in the back seven times, or riddles our son’s bodies with 16 shots — and keeps shooting after the body has dropped.
What will the jury see? The jaded prism of racism American style through which the only “safe” and nonthreatening Black man is a dead Black man?
What good is video proof if America chooses not to believe her lying eyes? Why are unarmed Black and Brown males choked to death or fatally shot while murderous white males, armed with long guns and having committed mass shootings, even exchanged fire with police, get taken alive?
Why do our Black faces automatically stoke fear? Why is there still no justice for us after all these years? Why do we sit with teeth on edge as another jury begins to deliberate another killer cop’s case?
How long for justice must we wait?
Surely we have grown weary — sick and tired of a nation that continues to slay our fathers, brothers, sons, and of the smugness in which this great injustice is done?
Damn. What good is a police body cam?
Derek Chauvin unrelentingly pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck, despite his grown-man pleas: “I can’t breathe!” Despite the desperate call by onlookers for mercy. The killer stared into that camera phone, steely eyed, until George Floyd, 46, was breathless, gone.
For 9 minutes, 29 seconds, he held his knee to another human being’s neck without display of a single ounce of humanity. His face, frozen and cold blooded, was filled with depravity, with the centuries old glare of lynch mobs unrepentant of their evil soliloquy.
They praised God on Sunday mornings, lynched us on Sunday afternoon. Burned our Black bodies and babies, took pieces of our charred bones as souvenirs, mailed postcards that stand as historical proof of their inhumanity born of racism, hate and fear. Set ablaze Tulsa and Rosewood, massacred families. Hung us in the woods from trees.
Today generations of trauma ache like arthritis in our bones. Cause us now in this moment in American history to scream: “How long?”
And I wonder: How can a nation that claims to believe in a loving God hate Black folk so much? Ain’t I a man in this land I so love?
And how can anyone look at that tape and not see the truth? In living color, it is documented proof.
Murder. It was murder.
Chauvin, wearing his state-issued badge, gun and police blues, appointed himself judge, jury and executioner. He showed Floyd no mercy. And he should receive none. Not one bit.
It was murder.
Not carbon monoxide poisoning. Not heart disease. Not drugs. It was the knee. Derek Chauvin’s knee. Murder. It was murder. It’s clear as day to see.
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