By Chudi Okoye
Presumptive Democratic Party nominee for the 2020 US presidential election, Joe Biden, delivered a speech on June 2, 2020, addressing the brutal murder of an African-American man, Mr George Floyd, by the police in the Powderhorn community of Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25, 2020. Mr Biden delivered his speech as riots and protests raged across the United States of America following the incident.
Mr Floyd was murdered by the police whilst handcuffed and lying down on a city street. His killer, Derek Chauvin, a white American Minneapolis police officer, kept his knee on the right side of Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Part of that morbid duration – 2 minutes and 53 seconds – occurred after Floyd had become unresponsive. The other officers with Chauvin – Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas K. Lane – participated in Floyd’s arrest, with Kueng holding Floyd’s back, Lane holding his legs, and Thao looking on and preventing intervention by onlookers. Some bystander videos even showed three officers at some point all kneeling on the handcuffed Floyd.
Mr Floyd had been arrested over allegation that he used a counterfeit $20 bill at a market, although it is not clear if that was the case, or if he did that knowingly. Police claimed that Floyd physically resisted arrest, but several US media organizations later challenged that claim, pointing out that a security camera from a nearby business did not show Floyd resisting arrest.
Based on police body camera footage, Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe while pinned down by the police. Several bystanders also recorded the event on their smartphones, with one video showing Floyd repeatedly saying “Please”, “I can’t breathe”, calling for his “Mama”, and pleading with the officers “Don’t kill me”, all to no avail.
A criminal complaint has been filed against the murderer, Derek Chauvin.
So far, only Chauvin has been charged while the other three officers that participated in the incident have not been charged.
Protest continues across America.
Mr Biden’s speech came in the wake of an abysmal response by the current US president, Donald Trump, who preferred to blame those protesting the persistence of racial injustice and police brutality in America which led to the murder of Mr George Floyd.
♦ With Wikipedia reporting