Contributed by Ben Wilson
The fallout form the police killing of George Floyd continues to build. Ongoing rallies have been taking places in cities across the nation. A key characteristic of them is that this movement is involving people of all colours.
In a show of incredible insensitivity to the grief and anger, President Donald Trump announced his intention to “stop it cold,” and blamed it all on domestic agitators and others, presumably forces external to the United States.
The response has been even more anger.
Protests spread across US over George Floyd’s death
Video from TV News
Especially when something like this takes on a national character, something is very wrong within society, needs urgent attention and can’t be swept under the carpet as no more than a law and order problem.
There has been some looting in impoverished communities, made even worse off economically and socially, by the Coronavirus outbreak. It is the poorest who have been suffering the most. There is some violence. Angry people, a heavy handed police response, and a sense that the pain is being ignored, will create this. in any case, this pales next to the ongoing systemic and ongoing violence many Americans feel.
The world knows that there is a history of police brutality in the United States, mostly inflicted on blacks, and also Native Americans, Hispanics and Asians. Poor white working class communities are also at the receiving end.
Curfews are being imposed. This means that anyone found out in the streets risks arrest. But many are ignoring these curfews. Tear gas, rubber bullets and stun granades are being used. The national guard has been brought in. There could easily be a turn towards lethal force. The situation is getting uglier by the hour.
George Floyd killing: Curfews imposed across the US
Video from DW News
Mass protests and arrests across US over George Floyd death
Video from BBC News
A positve and productive response from those in authority would be, to admit that there are reasons for the unrest.
Not much of this is in evidence however. Whether the streets are cleared or not, this will add to the festering sore in American society.
Few national leaders have so far shown the courage to stand up for those who are angry. One exemption, is recent presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
We Need Justice for George Floyd
Video from Bernie Sanders
A key issue is that even when a police officer is charged, they get off lightly. In he killing George Floyd, Derek Chauvin has been charged with the relatively minor crime of murder in the third degree. This is manslaughter, implying the killing was not intentional. if found quilty he will gety a much lesser sentence.
Rallies supporting action against the killing have been taking place in a number of other countries. So far, 5 African countries have officially protested through their embassies.