By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent
Derek Chauvin, the officer who was seen on video pressing his knee into the neck of a handcuffed George Floyd, was arrested on Friday, May 29.
The arrest comes as protests take place in many places around the nation, including in Los Angeles, where a crowd of pedestrians blocked the busy 101 Freeway, and in Minneapolis where Floyd was killed. “Chauvin (who, along with four other officers, was fired after the incident) was taken into custody,” Minneapolis Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said in a news release.
President Donald Trump reached back to the Civil Rights era to quote an alleged racist former Miami police chief.
At the same time, his predecessor, Barack Obama, offered the kind of leadership not seen since he left office nearly four years ago.
“This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America,” Obama wrote in a statement regarding the death of Floyd, an African American Minneapolis resident, and the ensuing protests where a few citizens have resorted to looting stores and burning buildings.
“It can’t be ‘normal.’ If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better,” Obama stated. “Being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly ‘normal’ for millions of Americans.”
Meanwhile, as tempers continue to flare in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, Trump tweeted a quote first issued in 1967 by Miami, Fla., Police Chief Walter Headley.
The chief had led what he called a crackdown of “slum hoodlums taking advantage of the civil rights movement.”
“When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” Headley stated 53 years ago.
His comments were denounced as racist by civil rights leaders. This week, Trump threatened to send the U.S. military into Minneapolis to quell the unrest there.
The president tweeted that he would “bring Minneapolis under control,” and called protestors “thugs.”
“When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” Trump tweeted.
The tweet was denounced by many, including Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), former vice president and presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden, and former First Lady Hillary Clinton.
Enola Aird, Esq., founder, and president of Community Healing Network (CHN), added that the world once again looks on in fury and condemnation at the killing of Floyd by police.
“We join in condemning the continuing assaults on the lives and the dignity of Black people. But, sadly, the marches and the calls for justice are missing a larger point,” Aird said in a statement issued to NNPA Newswire.
“The question we, Black people, need to be asking is this: Why are we so often the targets of such inhumanity? The roots of that inhumanity run deep.
“For more than 600 years, people of African ancestry have been seen as less than human because of the lie of white superiority and Black inferiority,” he stated.
American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten, Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson, and Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus also issued statements following George’s death.
“Hate is rising in the United States with a zeal, emboldened by the White House, among others. It is a stain on our humanity, and good people must gather together to resist and repel it,” the AFT officials noted.
“Nearly six years after the death of Eric Garner, how many more black men will die at the hands of authorities after saying, ‘I can’t breathe’? George Floyd had a right to live.
“The haunting question we must ask is: If Floyd had been white, would that police officer have continued to put his knee on Floyd’s neck after hearing him say he couldn’t breathe?
“Black families deserve to raise their children in a world that does not traffic in this gross inhumanity, and that does not also force them to bear the burden of confronting it. The fact this is not self-evident is, in itself, a moral failing of America.”