The gruesome murder of George Floyd who was choked to death by a police officer has sparked a series of protests in over a dozen states in the US and also some solidarity protests in London. The buzzword “I can’t breathe” has become a reverberating slogan across many placards, as they represent the final words of Floyd in his dying moments.
His death opened a can of worms as riot police clashed with protesters in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles where these rioters were pelted with tear gas and pepper bullets by the police in an effort to disperse the crowd. Things aggravated as police vehicles were set on fire and shops looted in several cities.
Due to this, curfews have been imposed in nearly 40 cities and over a hundred arrests made, but people have largely ignored these curfews leading to an intense stand-off with the police.
Following this, President Donald Trump sent a call for inclusion to the nation’s National Guard via a tweet saying,
“Law and order in Philadelphia, Now! They are looting stores. Call in our great national guard”.
The National Guard, which is the US reserve military force for domestic emergencies, reported on Sunday that “over 5,000 of its personnel had been activated in 15 States and Washington DC, where crowds once again gathered near the White House, this time lighting fires and throwing stones at riot officers”.
It also added that “states and local law enforcement agencies remain responsible for security”, as multiple instances of police vehicles were being vandalized and set alight on Sunday, as riot officers continue to respond with tear gas and flash grenades.
In Philadelphia, local television stations captured people smashing police cars and looting at least one store, as a similar situation was reported in Santa, Monica, California. Also, there is a reported arrest of a lorry driver in Minneapolis, where Floyd lost his life after he reportedly breached a road barrier before speeding towards a crowd of protesters.
The governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz, commented on the matter by stating the clueless nature of the motive of the driver, adding,
“To not have tragedy and many deaths is simply an amazing thing”.
Interestingly, the ripple effect of the murder of Floyd is swiftly drowning the sound of any news of COVID-19, as large scale protests also took place in Atlanta, Boston, Miami, and Oklahoma City. In Atlanta, Georgia, however, two officers were sacked on Sunday for using excessive force, including firing a taser on two young college students.
Derek Chauvin, the ex-policeman has been charged with murdering Mr. Floyd in Minneapolis and is due to appear in court later on Monday.
On the 25th of May, the police received a phone call from a neighborhood grocery store alleging that George Floyd had paid with a counterfeit $20 note. According to the police, he resisted officers and was handcuffed. However, the video of the incident did not show how the confrontation happened.