POLICE BRUTALITY: WHEN IS ENOUGH NOT ENOUGH?

Last month’s murder of a black man in Minnesota by a white police officer and his associates is not unprecedented in U.S. history so far as police brutality against non-white people are concerned. The United States of America is blighted with a long, shameful, and notorious history of visiting massacre and mayhem, covertly or overtly, on its minority citizens, including public lynching.  The U.S. prides itself as the leader of the so-called free world and democracy, yet it is not color-blind and homogeneous as a nation.

It takes no rocket science to discern that the death penalty laws in the U.S. do not exist in a vacuum and have caused innocent lives to be lost. Application and delivery of penal laws and sentencing guidelines are woefully and disproportionately weighted against minorities.  George Orwell’s satiric verse of “some animals are more equal than others” is clearly manifested in the U.S. and most other developed capitalist countries – more so than in Communist countries, where blacks and whites co-exist.  For over four hundred years white men in the U.S. have enjoyed affirmative action at the expense of ethnic minorities: easier access to soft loans; prestigious colleges and universities; employment recruitment, hiring and career promotions; unfair, biased, and prejudicial sentences, and the list goes on.  

What is unprecedented in the torturous and gruesome death of Mr. George Floyd is the worldwide response by good people of all races. Irrespective of the outcome of any legal tussle therein and thereafter, the world saw a law enforcement officer whose knee was firmly planted and buried on the neck of a helpless man on the ground pleading for his life. Officer Derek Chauvin’s dastardly actions have piqued the consciousness of real humans (those speaking up) the world over, courtesy of technology and social media.

Mr. Floyd was arrested for allegedly passing on a fake $20 bill for a purchase. Published reports portray that the victim and the perpetrator had worked together as recently as late last year and were familiar with one another. Was it payback time for the one in uniform and with a gun – and his accomplices – against the unarmed man? Could it have been a premeditated action? Officer Chauvin might have been settling a score or personal beef he had previously with Mr. Floyd, whose cry of “I can’t breathe” – which has reverberated across the world to signify a clarion call for action against police brutality and injustice – made no difference to Officer Chauvin.

It also made no difference to his compatriots, who stood aloof and unconcerned. Maybe there is an unwritten Lesson 101 in Police Academy not to interfere when a fellow officer is slowly snuffing the breath out of a captured (black) man on the ground. The acquittals of numerous police officers with glaring and convincing physical evidence of brutalities and abuses against minorities is a motivational factor that encourages and precipitates crooked officers to behave and act in certain ways against marginalized people. Government’s lackadaisical and lukewarm attitude about seriously confronting debilitating race and racial issues has given more credence to and revitalized the struggles of the Black Lives Matter movement.

It must be noted that, in a country where black men are inherently and perpetually under indictment by the police, the mistrust of the former to the latter is crystal clear and creates a dialectical and contradictory environment. It’s about time the federal government enacted palpable legislation with a bite to stem the existential race divide and racial issues. Nothing short of strict fundamental laws on police reform with zero tolerance of brutality against people of color will quell the confrontations between minorities and the police.

It is unfortunate and sad that positive socioeconomic changes in the U.S. are almost always effected after black anger, demonstrations, and the attendant riots and destruction. Amandla believes that this time around, “the cup runneth over” for those in authority who should have known better but chose to look the other way.

Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia warned the world about race relations in an epic speech to the U.N. General Assembly on October 4, 1963. That prophetic address inspired Bob Marley to release the song “War,” which is probably more relevant now than ever before.

Posted by on Jun 29 2020. Filed under top stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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