This is not an isolated incident: George Floyd, the Minneapolis Riots, and Police Brutality in America


Photo courtesy of NY Times

Teagan Gaviola, Copy and Sports Editor

This article contains sensitive material, including depictions of graphic violence.


This is not an isolated incident. 


George Floyd was a caring man. He had a six-year-old daughter and was engaged to Courtney Ross. George was someone who called for change in his community. One particular video of him urging the young generations to avoid reckless violence is circulating on the internet for the world to see. In it, true sincerity and care was evident in his voice. George Floyd was a caring man. George Floyd was a human being.


May 25, 2020, George Floyd was wrongfully murdered by ex-police officer Derek Chauvin while his colleagues, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng, stood on the sidelines. George Floyd was face down, on the ground, handcuffed, while Chauvin had his knee on George’s neck. 


George repeatedly pleaded, “I can’t breathe.” 


Chauvin and his fellow officers did nothing but listen to George suffer while Chauvin mercilessly suffocated him to death.


All because George was suspected of using a counterfeit $20 bill by a convenience store clerk. In the end, it was confirmed that this accusation was false. 


As of May 29, Chauvin, Lane, Thao and Kueng have been fired from their positions as Minneapolis police officers. Chauvin has been arrested and charged with third degree murder and manslaughter. The other officers have faced no further consequences.


These men were responsible for murdering an innocent black man on the streets of Minneapolis. George Floyd was unarmed and outnumbered four to one. I must ask, what threat did George pose? What justifies publicly killing an innocent black man in cold blood? 


Nothing. Nothing does.


So tell me why it keeps happening?


In the aftermath of the unjust and wrongful murder of George Floyd, the Minneapolis riots began May 26. Although demonstrations and protests began peacefully, the riots soon escalated. Protestors were plagued by tear gas thrown by police officers. Despite suffering from the effects of tear gas, protestors were denied service by the local Target when seeking out milk and other relief remedies. People soon began to loot Target, and later the store was up in flames while the rest of the streets were set ablaze. However, amidst the chaos, rather than helping maintain peace in the city, most Minneapolis police officers stood guard around ex-officer Chauvin’s home. Rather than protect the city, they chose to protect a murderer. 


And please, do not misunderstand. These riots were not started because the Black Lives Matter movement stands for violence. Don’t get it twisted. Riots are not the result of inherent violence. Riots are often a response to a much bigger problem. People weren’t burning the streets for no reason. Their fury and anger was not without reason. America has provided plenty of reasons for black citizens to be angry. And so, in regards to the many individuals participating in the Minneapolis riots—their rage is justified.


Martin Luther King, Jr. had his own thoughts on riots: “I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear?”


America must pay attention to these words. 


Black people in America are currently pleading for their lives. Please listen to them. Their voices need to be heard and their lives deserve to be saved from the monster that is racist America and all its racist systems. Black Americans do not have the luxury to stand idly by while watching other black lives die every week. Their lives are at stake. Staying silent is equivalent to taking the side of the oppressor. Don’t stay silent. Use your voice to stand by the black community in America. Sign the countless petitions made for George Floyd and the many other black Americans who have died at the hands of the police. Do not stay silent. 


Do not forget the actions of the monster that started this mess.


Do not forget that this is not an isolated incident. There are hundreds of other stories that are like George’s—some are heard, and others are not. It is important that we recognize the hundreds of black individuals who have been ruthlessly murdered by police. It is important to remember their names.


Trayvon Martin. Eric Garner. Tony McDade. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd.


All unarmed black citizens. All were senselessly murdered by police. All a small fraction of black Americans who were killed due to the racism ingrained within America.


This was not an isolated incident, and that needs to be changed.