June 02, 2020 - Tuesday 4:06 AM by Jimmy Laking
It began as a simple arrest for misdemeanor. But when George Floyd, a black man, was handcuffed after making a purchase at a local Cup Foods allegedly using a fake 20 dollar bill in the city of Minneapolis, little did he know his death was just moments away.
Little did he know his death would trigger a violent protest from across the major states and cities. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Now America is besieged on two fronts: one from the COVID-19 pandemic that has inflicted 103,781 deaths out of 1,770, 384 confirmed cases, and the second from the backlash of Floyd’s killing that is raging even as we sit where we are today.
Not content with handcuffing him, police officer Derek Chauvin ordered him to lay on the pavement. Then in a blatant act of overkill that is seen more in movies, the police officer pressed one knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes, ignoring requests by a colleague and onlookers to ease up.
The video recorded Floyd’s last moments.
“Please, please, please, I can’t breathe,” he begged. “My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Please, please. I can’t breathe.”
Chauvin budged only when it was clear that Floyd was not showing any signs of life.
America is outraged. Americans, both black and white, have been taking to the streets to vent their protests. New York itself was described as looking like a war zone with several police cars overturned or set ablaze. Several states have had to mobilize their national guards to enforce peace and order.
Kellie, Chauvin’s wife for 10 years, a Laotian who migrated to the United States, has filed for divorce.
She told reporters she was devastated by Floyd’s death and expressed utmost sympathy with his family and loved ones.
Donald Trump described Floyd’s death as a terrible thing. “We all saw what we saw and want to see justice done.”
City Mayor Jacob Frey was furious. “It is on us as leaders to see this for what it is and to call it for what it is.”
He vowed the city will not turn a blind eye to see justice done for Floyd, for the black community, and for the city of Minneapolis.
Chauvin and three of his colleagues were dismissed from the Minneapolis police force.
But it took days before he was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Already frustrated with Trump’s handling of the novel coronavirus crisis, Americans have found in Floyd’s death a common thread to protest the killings of African Americans by police officers.
Trump, perhaps taking a cue from the violent protests that triggered red flags all over the American continent himself, says it may be local but it is also federal.
Methinks the United States is not in an enviable situation right now. And like any Filipino that has reason to be concerned, I shudder to think of the fate of my relatives who are all over the United States except Alaska.
Several of them were living in New York (and are still there) when Islamic terrorists directed a plane that smashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, killing more than 3,000 people.
But Filipinos being proven survivors, this double jeopardy is not likely to dampen their will to survive and to carry on with life.
No Filipino so far has been caught in the crossfire. Perhaps an unseen hand is behind these all for the good of America.
Perhaps it is all for good as enshrined in Hawaii’s state motto: Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ‘Aina I ka Pono. The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.
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