Thoughts on George Floyd, Systemic Racism, Amy Cooper, Protests, and the Fact That It Feels Like the Entire USA Is up in Flames


I have been listening, consuming, and listening again, waiting before I post an opinion, thought, or stance on everything going on … because it’s a lot.

The USA is up in flames right now in almost every major city.

I don’t know where to begin or what to say. 

This is crazy. 

I am angry, sad, confused, and a bit scared.

I know no one is asking for my opinion, but I feel I have to say something.

[What follows is a lot of videos and pictures of the past days that might be graphic for some readers; however, is vital to show every side and I encourage you to view them all.]

I Stand Up

If You Don’t Stand for Something, You’ll Fall for Anything,” Gordon A. Eadie said.

I stand in support of racial equality. 

I stand in support of Black Lives Matter.

I stand in support of fighting for our freedoms.

I stand in support of protests.

And I stand in support for George Floyd and the Floyd family.

A quote from Desmond Tutu, a South African Anglican cleric and theologian known for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist, said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

The first part of Tutu’s quote has been circulating social media for the last few days and is now more relevant than ever because, as a journalist and someone who studies journalism, sometimes silence speaks louder than words.

People begin to assume, and we all know we shouldn’t assume things; however, it’s just one downside of being human. People will say what they want to say regardless if it’s true or fact. Now it is time to speak up for what you stand for and believe in so the people in the back can hear you, and if you don’t say anything, other people will speak for you.

Systemic Racism

Systemic Racism is something we have heard, read, or even seen on the news or shown in a movie but something we might not all have experienced before.

With advancements in technology, everyone is being filmed and watched, and with the introduction of social media, it has created a platform to share everything, anywhere, to anyone.

In short, it’s always been there; it’s just now being recorded.

Amy Cooper from the Central Park incident where Christian Cooper, a black man who was birdwatching and asked Amy Cooper to leash her dog, demonstrated this racism clearly and how it works. 

Amy Cooper said, as she began calling the cops, “I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.”

Amy Cooper knew how much power she held saying those words and including “African American man” as a white female, by herself, with her dog, and what the cops would/could have done if it weren’t recorded by Christian Cooper.

Although I am not a fan of The View, Christian Cooper and sister Melody reflect on the Central Park incident, address Amy Cooper’s apology, and Christian Cooper said, “I’m uncomfortable with defining someone by a couple of seconds of what they’ve done.”

Central Park Birdwatcher Christian Cooper and Sister Melody Reflect on Incident | The View

In all truthfulness, I have never experienced racism directed at me, and I first learned of racism through a textbook in Elementary School likely because I am a lower middle class white male – and that right there is a form of privilege, specifically white privilege.

This privilege means that I have an advantage that is entirely out of my control and something that I have never even asked for. 

That makes me mad, similar to fate. It makes me feel I don’t have control of my life. Understandably so, it makes other people angry as well; however, it’s real, and it’s something we have to acknowledge and live with whether we want to or not.

George Floyd

The video heard around the world.

What happened to George Floyd is unspeakable, but what I know is that Floyd was alive before the cops got to him and unresponsive after the Police left.

The following is a detailed video of the events unfolding, May 25, from The Washington Post.

The death of George Floyd: What video shows about his final minutes

The Derek Chauvin Complaint states, “The autopsy revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation. Mr. Floyd had underlying health conditions, including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the Police, his underlying health conditions, and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death. 

The Complaint further states, “The defendant (Derek Chauvin) had his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in total. Two minutes and 53 seconds of this was after Mr. Floyd was non-responsive. Police are trained that this type of restraint with a subject in a prone position is inherently dangerous. Defendant is in custody.”

As from watching the video, we can see that Floyd didn’t die from “traumatic asphyxia or strangulation” and using “underlying health conditions” as a scapegoat for his death doesn’t make any sense at all. 

I can’t strangle somebody and say they died from an asthma attack and then get off scot-free.

They also said “likely” and “contributed,” which are both words for uncertainty and shouldn’t be used in a statement that the whole world is reading.

The following video is of Ali Haider M.D., a certified interventional cardiologist, exploring how George Floyd died, and further explaining the “preliminary autopsy” report why better than I can.

How George Floyd died, and the “preliminary autopsy” report explained

Timestamps:

  • 0:53 – Why George couldn’t breath 
  • 2:51 – Medical pathophysiology of his asphyxia 
  • 4:59 – Could we have saved George? 
  • 7:11 – Breakdown of the Preliminary Autopsy Report

Benjamin Crump, the Floyd family attorney, wrote on Twitter, “The legal team representing the family of George Floyd has issued the following statement related to the preliminary autopsy findings by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner.”

“We are not surprised, yet we are tragically disappointed in the preliminary autopsy findings released today by the medical examiner. We hope that this does not reflect efforts to create a false narrative for the reason George Floyd died,” said Crump. “Attempts to avoid the hard truth will not stand, and on behalf of the family, we are fiercely committed to bringing the truth to light.”

The family is going to engage an independent medical examiner to conduct another autopsy.

As of 3 p.m. June 1, George Floyd’s legal team announces findings of the independent autopsy.

JusticeForGeorgeFloyd

Excerpts from a press release from Romanucci & Blandin Law:

World-renowned medical examiner Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson found the manner of Mr. Floyd’s death was homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain. Sustained pressure on the right side of Mr. Floyd’s carotid artery impeded blood flow to the brain, and weight on his back impeded his ability to breathe. The independent examiners found that weight on the back, handcuffs and positioning were contributory factors because they impaired the ability of Mr. Floyd’s diaphragm to function. From all the evidence, the doctors said it now appears Mr. Floyd died at the scene.

“What we found is consistent with what people saw. There is no other health issue that could cause or contribute to the death,” Dr. Baden said. “Police have this false impression that if you can talk, you can breathe. That’s not true.”

“For George Floyd, the ambulance was his hearse. Beyond question, he would be alive today if not for the pressure applied to his neck by fired officer Derek Chauvin and the strain on his body from two additional officers kneeling on him,” said lead attorney Crump. “Mr. Floyd’s death was a homicide by officers who taunted him while holding him down for more than eight minutes. And the officer who stood by doing nothing was a physical blue shield — a living symbol of the code of silence.”


The four officers involved during the death of George Floyd were Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J Alexander Kueng, all of whom were terminated from their positions.

Derek Chauvin is currently facing one count of 3rd Degree Murder and a second count of 2nd Degree Manslaughter.

3rd Degree Murder, as defined by the Minnesota statue, states, “Whoever, without intent to effect the death of any person, causes the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life, is guilty of murder in the third degree.”

2nd Degree Manslaughter, as defined by the Minnesota statute, states, causing death “by the person’s culpable negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another.” Also known as being reckless.

Crump says Chauvin should face a first-degree murder charge.

As for that, I am uncertain; however, because of the recklessness of all four police officers, they should be charged as it states in the Complaint, “Police are trained that this type of restraint with a subject in a prone position is inherently dangerous” – and they did it for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

“When you hear someone calling for help, you are supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic human sense,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said.

George Floyd deserved better.

Below are videos on Derek Chauvin charged with third-degree murder in death of George Floyd and on new surveillance video that captures part of George Floyd’s arrest before he died.

Derek Chauvin charged with third-degree murder in death of George Floyd
Lets talk about George Floyd
New surveillance video captures part of George Floyd’s arrest before he died
New video shows Minneapolis police arrest of George Floyd before death

A Nation in Outrage

Trevor Noah, the host of The Dailly Show, recently put it best as the dominos of racial injustice and police brutality have fallen, and how the contract between society and black Americans has been broken time and time again.

George Floyd, Minneapolis Protests, Ahmaud Arbery & Amy Cooper | The Daily Social Distancing Show

Don’t get me wrong, this has been going on for hundreds of years and America has a dark history, but ever since Dec. 31, 2019, the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, some huge dominos have fallen.

Since COVID-19, many people are out of work, stuck inside, bills piling up, managing their families big and small, and their eyes glued to their T.V.s, smartphones, and laptops consuming and watching content non-stop because that’s just what we do now.

Eventually, there is an itch that needs to be scratched by some people, or somewhere to direct people’s attention/anger too.

COVID-19, racial injustice, the worries about Trump, the rise of unemployment, the crash of the stock market, businesses closing forever, stimulus checks, 2020 United States Census, murder hornets, lots of cicadas, the legalization of marijuana, and more have people up in arms now more than ever, and we’re all here to witness it unfold at home.

Saw this on Facebook.

So what we do, we protest.

For those it’s unclear to, “A protest is a public expression of objection, disapproval or dissent towards an idea or course of action, typically a political one. Protests can take many different forms, from individual statements to mass demonstrations.”

Again, “Protests can take many different forms, from individual statements to mass demonstrations,” which can include rioting, looting, and even violence; however, that doesn’t mean it should be that way, and I don’t believe it is.

Violence begets violence,” and “an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.”

What is happening now does not insight change if innocent people, kids, animals, small business owners, black small business owners, and peaceful protesters are hurt, shot, burnt to the ground, ran over, and even killed.

Right now, it feels like what Heath Ledger’s Joker said in The Dark Knight, “Their morals, their code; it’s a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They’re only as good as the world allows them to be. You’ll see- I’ll show you. When the chips are down these, uh, civilized people? They’ll eat each other. See I’m not a monster, I’m just ahead of the curve.”

Batman i’m not a monster these civilized people will eat each other

We can’t become this.

I still believe in humanity, even if the lines between right and wrong are becoming blurred.

The following is simply heart breaking.


Excerpts from a press release from Romanucci & Blandin Law:

Crump, the family, and the other members of the legal team called on protestors to continue to raise their voices but refrain from the violence and looting.

“On behalf of the family that we understand the righteous anger we see playing out on streets across the country. We support the activism and energy of the people who want to make sure we achieve change, and we hope those efforts continue, Crump said. “But looting and violence are absolutely unacceptable. They were unacceptable to George, and they must be unacceptable to us. The way to honor George is to achieve justice. As a country, we need to take a deep breath. George Floyd wasn’t allowed that, but we must. We have a team of top legal minds who are not going to stop until there’s justice for George Floyd and his family.”


This violence is not the way, and I don’t have an answer for what is the way.

Yes, we can rebuild businesses and replace things, but we shouldn’t have to, because it’s not about Target or AutoZone being looted and burnt down; it’s about the small business already struggling to make ends meet with COVID-19, and now they are losing everything due to riots.

All insurance is not created equally, and some things are just not replaceable.

It’s sad because I know small business owners, some family members of mine are small business owners, and I myself run a small business, and I know the struggle of staying afloat.

Some people don’t even have small business insurance at all.

Also, some of the businesses being burnt down are black-owned small businesses, so what’s the point there!

Again, I don’t know the way.

What I do know is an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind, and I know that innocent lives are being lost in this nation before, during, and probably after the riots end, and I don’t stand for that; however, pouring lighter fluid on the USA and sending a lit match its way is not the answer.

“Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds,” George Santayana, a philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist, said.

That’s what we see – confusion.

“I am fascinated by the idea that our civilization is like a thin layer of ice upon a deep ocean of chaos and darkness,” Werner Herzog, a German film director, screenwriter, author, actor, and opera director, said.

Chaos is not the answer; however, we must fight for peace and justice, and I believe we can, even if it takes another 100 years.

I stand in support of racial equality. 

I stand in support of Black Lives Matter.

I stand in support of fighting for our freedoms.

I stand in support of protests.

And I stand in support for George Floyd and the Floyd family.


According to the reports from WTVR, “Police have arrested at least 1,669 people in 22 U.S. cities according to a tally by The Associated Press. Nearly one-third of those arrests came in Los Angeles. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency and ordered the National Guard to back up the city’s 10,000 police officers. Overnight curfews were imposed in more than a dozen major cities.”

One of those cities has become Richmond, with a curfew that will extend from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. through June 3.

“This emergency declaration will provide the necessary support to localities as they work to keep our communities safe,” said Governor Northam reported from The Richmond Times-Dispatch. “There are many voices speaking out for justice and healing across the United States and in our Commonwealth, but others are exploiting this pain and inciting violence.”

“Violation of this Order shall be a Class 1 misdemeanor pursuant to § 44-146.17 of the Code of Virginia,” the order reads.

The following is of Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announcing the curfew and speaking bluntly to the Richmond community. 

Richmond mayor: ‘Enough is enough’

Timestamps:

  • 6:47 – The Curfew
  • 9:53 – Let’s Be Frank

Watch here the Richmond police chief breaking down after fire crews blocked from burning Richmond home with a child inside.

Police chief breaks down after fire crews blocked from burning Richmond home with child inside

How to Support Protesters in Every City

Here’s where you can donate or find ways to help out in every city.

A Collection of Videos, Posts, and Photos

These videos are for you to dissect and come up with your own conclusion and will be added to as more videos come in – these are displayed in no particular order.

#BlueToo Bill Maher
Protests continue in NYC and across the U.S. in wake of George Floyd’s death
Protests continue to erupt nationwide in wake of George Floyd’s death
Police shoot paintballs at people standing on their own porch

Confederate memorial hall burned as second night of outrage erupts in Virginia – Click Image for Photos

Protesters on Broad Street in downtown Richmond on Saturday night. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)
Someone brought a child to the protest
We cannot condone injuring a police horse in Dallas Texas as a form of protest
Protests turn into riots as curfew in effect until 6 a.m. Sunday
Amy Cooper apologizes after Central Park confrontation
Major looting – Michael Paluska
Protests in downtown Richmond tonight following the death of George Floyd. Karina Bolster – NBC12 is on scene with more. NOTE: This video contains a moment when our reporter was hit with a water bottle and had her phone slapped out of her hands. We have been in contact with her regarding the incident and continue to be in contact with our crew.
Downtown Dallas shop owner is mobbed by violent protestors
In Flint, Michigan, Sheriff #ChrisSwanson put down his helmet and baton and joined protesters on their march adding that not all cops are like #DerekChauvi

Man seriously injured in shooting during violent overnight protests in Richmond

At least one person was shot as violent protests over the death of George Floyd erupted for a second straight day in the city of Richmond, police confirm. (Source: Viewer Submitted Photo)
BTW21
Wife and Husband brutally beaten for protecting their store.

Protesters caused widespread damage across across Richmond last night. Dozens of businesses on Broad Street were…

Posted by Style Weekly on Sunday, May 31, 2020
Protesters caused widespread damage across across Richmond last night. Dozens of businesses on Broad Street were vandalized, as were the monuments.
Black protester caught two white protesters tagging Starbucks.
All lives matter or Black Lives Matter
Tessa Horn

Governor Northam Statement on Richmond Protests

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today issued the following statement about protests in the City of Richmond.

“I acknowledge each of the voices crying out for justice and healing across the United States and in our Commonwealth. I affirm the deep concerns from the black community. 

“I hear you. I know your pain is real. We have all seen too many people harassed, abused, and killed by law enforcement officers, in too many places, for too long—just for being black. I also know that others are exploiting this pain and are now causing violence.  

“I spoke with Mayor Levar Stoney throughout the night; pursuant to the Mayor’s requests, I have authorized a curfew in Richmond and placed the Virginia National Guard on alert. They stand ready to assist in protecting our residents, businesses, especially small and black-owned businesses, and the capital city.

“As Governor of Virginia, I call on all Virginians to join together and build a renewed commitment to working for justice and fair treatment.”


Fire set to a homeless man’s only possessions.
A black woman in Baltimore just punched a cop in the face…twice.

Hundreds of Protesters Rally in London, Berlin Over U.S. Death

People protest in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, May 31, 2020 after the violent death of the African-American George Floyd Credit: Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa via AP
From FOX NEWS

The Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck had 18 previous complaints against him, police department says

From CNN
WDBJ7

Cleveland Protestors Picked The Wrong Italian Restaurant

From Second Amendment Daily News

If you made it all the way down here, thank you for reading. There is so much more I could add and investigate into, but I felt it was time to publish this piece finally.

Stand up in support and speak up. One voice can change a lifetime. More can change the world.

Stay safe, healthy, be optimistic, and fight for justice and peace.

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