The Trans-Atlantic slave trade that spanned the 18th and 19th century was one of the most brutal assaults on the human race. Human beings from the African continent were treated worse than sub humans and animals. They were packed like sardines into waiting ships and sent off to the New World to work as labourers in plantations and the homes of the Caucasians with no pay save for the miserable meals they were given to merely keep them alive to work continuously for their boss’s interests.
Shameless African chiefs gleefully sold their brothers and sisters into slavery for miniscule rewards like gin, mirrors amongst such ridiculous economic rewards that reduced the ‘leaders’ to mindless consumerists.
The only permanent thing in life is change and this applied to the African or black Americans as their lot through the efforts of the likes of Harriet Tubman, Marcus Garvey, William Edward Blyden Du bois etc led to the end of slave trade which was the major precursor of the American civil war under the Presidency of the legendary Abraham Lincoln.
The lot of the blacks didn’t change the fate of the former slaves as they were excluded from the major goings on in the US when a policy of segregation was aggressively pursued which was worse than the apartheid of South Africa in the days of yore. The likes of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, Rev Jesse Jackson, Malcolm X etc did their best to put an end to the misery of the blacks in the country that prides herself as ‘God’s own country.’
Since then the lot of the blacks have immensely improved even though in most cases they are merely tolerated.
George Floyd was one such black who obviously was a descendant of slaves.
He was diligent in his work as a bouncer in a club in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he eked out an honest living. Unfortunately the covid 19 pandemic left him jobless which was also the fate of millions of his American counterparts. He didn’t take the law into his hands as he may have been tempted to have done in his desperate bid to survive.
His journey to the land of his ancestors began on May 25, this year when he purchased a pack of cigarettes from Cup Foods, a grocery store. The store attendant alleged that he paid with a counterfeit $20 bill and promptly called the police to step in.
This was rather tragic as the store owner, Mike Abumayyaleh said in tears that he was a regular customer to the store and had a sanguine look around him.
The employee alleged that Floyd was drunk and not in control of himself and refused to hand him back the pack of cigarettes. He then called 911 and was arrested by the local cops.
According to the BBC this was what transpired between him and the cops: “Shortly after the call, at around 20:08, two police officers arrived. Mr Floyd was sitting with two other people in a car parked around the corner.
After approaching the car, one of the officers, Thomas Lane, pulled out his gun and ordered Mr Floyd to show his hands. In an account of the incident, prosecutors do not explain why Mr Lane thought it necessary to draw his gun.
Mr Lane, prosecutors said, “put his hands on Mr Floyd, and pulled him out of the car”. Then Mr Floyd “actively resisted being handcuffed”.
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Once handcuffed, though, Mr Floyd became compliant while Mr Lane explained he was being arrested for “passing counterfeit currency”.
It was when officers tried to put Mr Floyd in their squad car that a struggle ensued.
At around 20:14, Mr Floyd “stiffened up, fell to the ground, and told the officers he was claustrophobic”, according to the report.
Mr Chauvin arrived at the scene. He and other officers were involved in further attempt to put Mr Floyd in the police car.
During this attempt, at 20:19, Mr Chauvin pulled Mr Floyd out of the passenger side, causing him to fall to the ground, the report said.
He lay there, face down, still in handcuffs.
That’s when witnesses started to film Mr Floyd, who appeared to be in a distressed state. These moments, captured on multiple mobile phones and shared widely on social media, would prove to be Mr Floyd’s last.
Mr Floyd was restrained by officers, while Mr Chauvin placed his left knee between his head and neck.
“I can’t breathe,” Mr Floyd said repeatedly, pleading for his mother and begging “please, please, please”.
For eight minutes and 46 seconds, Mr Chauvin kept his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck, the prosecutors’ report says.is due to appear in court in Minneapolis on Monday
About six minutes into that period, Mr Floyd became non-responsive. In videos of the incident, this was when Mr Floyd fell silent, as bystanders urged the officers to check his pulse.
One of the other officers, JA Kueng, did just that, checking Mr Floyd’s right wrist, but “couldn’t find one”. Yet, the officers did not move.
At 20:27, Mr Chauvin removed his knee from Mr Floyd’s neck. Motionless, Mr Floyd was rolled on to a gurney and taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center in an ambulance.
He was pronounced dead around an hour later.
Floyds death is condemnable as he was killed in cold blood by Derek Chauvin for reasons best known to him. This was a case of a first degree murder and one wonders why the life of a promising black man was brutally cut short by a cop who was supposed to protect him!
While I condemn the looting of shops by the blacks in that community, I am in support of the peaceful protests that greeted his death. Why are many blacks targeted in needless killings by the white cops? What crime have they committed? Is it a crime to be black? What happened to diversity and inclusiveness? The beauty of the US is that it a land built on the back of immigrants so what then happened to the blacks whose ancestors were forced there against their will?
Cop Chauvin should be tried and the full weight of the law should be applied on him to serve as a deterrent to any Caucasian blood thirsty cop who is racist.
Former US President Barack Obama broke the glass ceiling in 2008 when he was elected the first Black President of the US. Tragically, this glass ceiling is still there for many blacks whose attempt to reach their full potential is blocked by their erstwhile Caucasian task masters.
We pray that the soul of Floyd finds eternal rest in the Lord’s Bosom and we hope that the judiciary can live up to its name as the last hope of the common man in ensuring that Chauvin is duly served.
These needless and cruel killings must stop in Uncle Sam!
Tony Ademiluyi wrote from Lagos and edits www.africanbard.com