“Four responding MPD officers involved in the death of George Floyd have been terminated. This is the right call.”
Minnesota Mayor Jacob Frey posted that tweet after the information was confirmed by Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo on Tuesday, after the death video depicting the fatal last minutes of the Black man, struggling to breathe due to the knee on his neck went viral.
Not so long ago, in the same state of Minnesota, a young Black man, Philando Castile was shot five times in his own car as he sat in the driver’s seat, while his fiancee, Diamond Reynolds, and her four-year-old daughter watched in horror as he bled out.
Officer Yanez claimed that he feared for his life because of the assumption that Castile was reaching for a firearm that was never there.
Back in 2016, I was an avid viewer and sharer of viral death videos, and I most certainly did watch the white cop still brandishing the gun he used to kill Philando Castile in the tear-stained faces of the two frightened witnesses, including the Black toddler who was begging her mother not to cry.
Castile’s murderer was charged with one count of second degree manslaughter including two other felonies, and it’s no shocker that he was eventually acquitted.
Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman and emergency medical technician was shot eight times in her apartment by Louisville Metro Police. The officers stormed their way in with a “no-knock warrant.”
Her boyfriend Kenneth Walker allegedly shot at the intruding officers when he suspected a burglary in process. The ongoing case is filled with holes and pending inquiries about how and why Breonna Taylor could’ve been shot multiple times in by rogue cops who barged into her home, unannounced.
At the beginning of May, we were blindsided by a tragic incident that occurred back in February, involving a young Black man in his twenties, Ahmaud Arbery, who was hunted down by a murderous duo, and shot dead in cold in blood while jogging in his neighborhood.
The shots were fired in broad daylight, and the father (an ex cop) and his partner-in-crime who also happens to be his son have since been charged with Arbery’s murder.
But those charges were delivered months later after the police were in possession of the damning footage filmed by a co-conspirator, who has also been charged for his role in this horrific crime.
George Floyd has now joined the sobering long list of Black lives lost as a result of police brutality, and like Eric Garner before him, his last plea for his life was rejected in favor of an untimely demise that was recorded and shared for the triggering viewership of a grieving community.
Chinedu Okobi was tasered to death in October 2018 by a gang of sheriff’s deputies (five to be exact) in Redwood City, CA, and if not for the heartrending details supplied by his sister, who was an employee of Facebook at the time of his killing, we would not have been aware of Okobi’s mental illness.
The reporting of the incident relied heavily on the misleading narrative that vilified the Black victim, and evoked the heroism of the overpowered cops, who desperately tried to sedate the large Black man who became irate and aggressive.
They paint the picture of a wild animal run amok, who is uncontrollably dangerous and has to be swiftly and valiantly put down to ensure the safety of the growing crowd.
But unfortunately even rabid dogs have a much better chance of surviving heightened encounters with armed police officers.
They are trained to kill first, and ask later, even when the subject is a Black man who is vulnerable from mental deficiencies that force him to act out in self-defense as the response to situations that can’t be interpreted.
Okobi’s died from cardiac arrest after a non-threatening weapon was turned into a deadly gadget, callously targeted at his chest long enough to stop his racing heart.
We already know how this story ends, and for the sheriff’s deputies who willfully ended the life of a victim who desperately needed the intervention of trained police officers, who are skilled at handling those specific interactions, they were spared the appropriate punishment for their crimes.
In the case of the four murderers implicated in the killing of George Floyd, the abrupt dismissal from the police force is no indication of what lies ahead once they face the corrupt court system.
The active issue of police brutality is a frustrating nightmare that can’t end unless law enforcement across the county make the concerted effort to address the main culprit driving this legal death trap, that has been permitted to disproportionately attack Black and Brown communities for decades.
Police officers are given badges of honor by their department heads for senselessly brutalizing Black and Brown lives for public consumption via viral videos and the gut-wrenching images that continue to encourage the valued currency of Black pain and the lethality of whiteness.
Despite the yearly homage to the Black lives that didn’t matter enough for the privileges that white citizens gladly utilize as their calling card when dialing 911— we seem to be moving further away from the concrete solutions to the problem that won’t go away.
Putting bandages on a deep wound only speeds up the infection that can’t heal without what is needed to provide relief and the promise of gradual improvement.
Police brutality, coupled with a biased judicial system seeped in normalized criminality against expendable citizens is America’s most treasured tradition. And even with the celebrity-driven criminal justice reform that’s been spearheaded by Jared Kushner with the glitzy assistance of Kim Kardashian — we can’t expect the dawn of a new day.
If police chiefs are united in their pledge to train their unruly cops to escalate non-threatening encounters with unarmed Black and Brown citizens without fail, and with the encouragement to enforce worst case scenarios, we can’t imagine that we will overcome the staggering number of casualties.
We will never be free.
We can share videos as if our wellbeing depends on the engagement, and we can unleash the latest hashtags with heartfelt testimonies and curses to uniformed terrorizers, but we are defenseless when it comes to architecting the tangible regulations that result in lifesaving measures.
Law enforcement has been designed to lawlessly destroy Black families, and until the bandits are replaced with badged officers who respect the the law and the citizens they swore to protect, the killing spree will stay activated.