George Floyd and blindness to justice: when video evidence isn’t enough to convince some

Twitter from Law Offices of Ben Crump

I look at comments from some on the Blue Lives Matter Facebook page and the excuses and deflections of what happened to George Floyd are sickening.

Yes, I appreciate our law enforcement officers. But there needs to be a really serious look at injustice and crime when it’s perpetuated by the ones who are sworn to serve and protect the public.

In the viral Facebook video, you see Floyd who’s being arrested for a petty crime, being held down, begging for his life, losing consciousness and the officer continues to keep a knee in Floyd’s neck after Floyd had repeatedly said “I can’t breathe.”

I see some commenters who say “well we need all the facts.”

What are these facts that make any of that ok?

“Well you shouldn’t resist arrest.” Yeah, you shouldn’t resist arrest. But if you do, that doesn’t mean that you should then be at the mercy of the officers to do whatever they want to you. That doesn’t mean that the officers should be able to use a move that’s not sanctioned in Minnesota (or much of the rest of the country). It also doesn’t mean that the officer should be able to use said illegal hold in a manner which is not sanctioned (i.e. continuing in to hold someone down by the neck with your body weight after they’re neutralized, and certainly after they’ve lost consciousness).

“Well he was saying “I can’t breathe,” and if you’re able to talk, then you can breathe.” Not necessarily. People who are on oxygen can breathe, but they don’t have enough oxygen in their lungs so they need assistance. Just because a person is able to take in any air doesn’t mean that they’re taking in enough oxygen.

We have the officer dead to rights. I’ve seen comments “well we only have part of the event on that video.” So what? We have the part that matters. We have the part where Floyd is begging for his life and saying he’s about to die and then dying while handcuffed and pinned down, and unarmed. We see the officer who was laying on Floyd’s neck but there were two other officers who also had him pinned down.

Honest question. If you’re think this is all justified, what evidence is there that would convince you this officer was in the wrong?

Again, I appreciate our brave men and women who serve in law enforcement. However, if it matters more to a person that they make excuses for the officer, you don’t truly care about what’s just or right.

Police don’t get to take it upon themselves to be judge, jury and executioner of people who allegedly commit petty crimes and who allegedly resist arrest. We’re not a just society when those who have sworn to serve and protect are not held to the standards of the law that they’re enforcing.

What side are you on?

I see those who attempt to deflect. “Well there were x number of African American men who were killed in Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit last weekend, why aren’t people protesting about that.” It should strike a nerve when those who are there to enforce the law murder people. To attempt to deflect is to once again show deference to justice.

“Well police have it so hard.” I’m sure they do. But that doesn’t mean they should get a pass for killing people. And for the thousands of hard working police officers who are disgusted by what these officers did in Minneapolis, we do them no favors when we try to justify murder.

It also doesn’t mean that the world should have a neutral opinion until we “get all the facts.” We have the video. That’s enough facts for any reasonable person to have a reasonable opinion.

I mentioned that I saw comments on Blue Lives Matter. To be fair, I have no doubt that may of the commenters were not from law enforcement officers. I do believe the vast majority of police officers are good and are disgusted by what these cops did in Minnesota.

When we see these horrors, instead of making excuses for police brutality, we must learn and law enforcement agencies across the nation must learn. Tragedy should always teach us.