On May 25th George Floyd was held to the ground by Minnesota cops, while officer Derek Chauvin placed his left knee between his head and put his full body weight on George Floyd’s 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 and full body weight on Mr Floyd’s neck.
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 did just that, checking Mr Floyd’s right wrist, but “couldn’t find one”.
Yet, the officers did nothing to help Floyd.
At 20:27, Chauvin removed his knee from Mr. Floyd’s neck.
George Floyd was motionless.
Floyd was rolled on to a gurney and taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center in an ambulance.
George Floyd was pronounced dead around an hour later.
National protests followed. Yes, and looting.
Some suspect that some of the street violence, aside from that coming from the police, may have been organized by white supremacist Trump-inspired militia members hoping to inspire race war.
Time will tell.
Meanwhile the President of the United States is hiding in a bunker.
George Floyd’s death was no outlier. Racist police violence is not new to Minneapolis or to the rest of the country.
But there is a script to how this goes.
Another racist cop killing. Then protest. Then an attempt to change the conversation to the nature of the protests.
In all the talk about looting I was struck by a report in the Chicago Tribune.
“Crowds of people also streamed into a nearby Family Dollar with one man emerging with laundry detergent, soda and toilet paper…”
Laundry detergent and toilet paper.
Of course, there was other looting as well. But, what does stealing laundry detergent and toilet paper tell us?
We need to be laser focused on the killing of George Floyd and the systematic murders by police of Black people across the country and the broader conditions and policies that allow and promote it.
Because that’s what matters.
Change the script.