An obvious and serious wrong was done when a police officer in Minneapolis kept his knee pinned against George Floyd’s neck during an arrest last week. The knee and the pressure were there for a long time, even after Floyd stopped breathing.
The video is appalling.
We don’t know all of the circumstances from one video, but it was obvious this was wrong, and all of the officers involved must be held accountable.
My first reaction on seeing the video was: “What are you doing?”
It wasn’t the first recent death of a black person to be called into question for good reason. On April 27, a 26-year-old black woman, Breonna Taylor, was shot and killed in her home in Louisville, KY, by police during erroneous search for drugs that should have been conducted at a home miles away from hers.
These and other recent incidents point up the racial bias factor in city policing, and we need to fix it. This kind of injustice cannot stand. When four officers are participating in an arrest, and one is acting in a manner that threatens the life of the person being arrested, that officer needs to be physically removed.
The vast majority of people, regardless of race, should see that. Accountability has to take place on all sides.
Peaceful demonstrations to point out the injustice in Floyd’s killing were expected.
But, as often seems to happen these days, this violent act led to more wrongs and more violence — not just in Minneapolis but in cities all across America, including in Omaha. Fires were set, buildings and cars were destroyed. Damages will run into the millions. At least two deaths were associated with the rioting as of Sunday.
Just as the actions of the Minneapolis officer were appalling, the violence in these demonstrations has also been appalling.
The opportunity was there for a nonviolent expression that, I believe, would have made a much bigger impact than riots and looting.
It’s interesting that officials in Minnesota, including Gov. Tim Walz, have blamed outsiders for fueling the rioting in the Twin Cities. Gov. Walz said officials estimate that about 80 percent of the rioters last Friday night were from outside Minnesota, while 20 percent were Minnesotans.
I can’t imagine that 80 percent would be an accurate estimate, but I’m sure there are anarchists of all stripes willing to take advantage of the situation. Those people only hurt the cause and create more tension. They should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.