The news from Minneapolis is simply dreadful. Simply nauseating to witness. In 2020 this should not be happening. That it does happen, over and over in America, alerts us all to the unfinished work we have to do with fundamental issues in the nation. There is no way to not understand why there is collective trauma within the black community today.
The Minneapolis police statement was a sick joke. It was not honest. With their short and overly sanitized wording the department looks detached from humanity. The report speaks of a man, who was wanted for suspicion of trying to pass a fake $20 bill at a convenience store. The report stated he seemed to be “under the influence,” and “physically resisted officers” and he appeared to be “suffering medical distress.”
But then there is that pesky damn video that shows so much of the report to be false. And thank God folks have the ability to record such news events so to demonstrate to the nation what is happening with these cases.
The video is sickening in both the scope of the behavior of the police officers at the scene but also as it undermined the brazen lies in the report about the death of a citizen. A death caused by an officer who pressed his knee into the neck of someone alleged to have passed a fake denomination. As the victim lay on the ground stating “I can’t breathe” again and again the officers did nothing.
George Floyd later died at a hospital. The shocking and deplorable actions of these officers, and the department trying to sanitize their report, is another reminder of how some seriously flawed individuals work in some police departments in our nation.
The Minneapolis Police Department fired the officer as well as three others who were at the scene.
But what stands out tonight is the leadership from Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. It was a tough day for him. But what he demonstrated was what lacks so much in our nation when it comes to our elected class. Emotion and honesty and courage and conviction and mid-western sensibilities in his words and eyes. He was not reciting some trite response but what he said clearly came from his gut.
Frey allowed our nation to find some humanity today with not only words but his demeanor which spoke louder than anything he said. We do not see that from those politicians who make the headlines over the past years.
“Being black in America should not be a death sentence. For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a black man’s neck. Five minutes. When you hear someone calling for help, you’re supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic, human sense.”
I firmly believe most police officers in this nation are of the character of which we all can be proud. But there are also too many in the profession who are not wedded to the code of conduct their job demands. As we see in the video not all in uniform appreciate the gravity of their actions. One of the fired officers stood by as witnesses pleaded with the police to let Floyd up and to check his pulse.
The full legal implications of the actions taken, and not taken, by these officers must be fully exercised by the city and family. These despicable officers absolutely must be held accountable to the full extent of the law.