On Monday morning, March 29, 2021, the first day of the George Floyd murder trial, Floyd’s close-knit family, the family’s attorney Benjamin Crump, Rev. Al Sharpton and other witnesses and bystanders huddled closely in cold weather outside the Hennepin County courthouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to protest Floyd’s brutal killing on Monday, May 25, 2020.
During the protest, as the clock approached 8:46 AM, the huddled masses all knelt on their knees for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to show the public just how long 8 minutes and 46 seconds is — the amount of time it took for Minneapolis police officer Chauvin to keep his knee on Floyd’s neck while forced to lie handcuffed and flat on his back in the prone position— not even taking into consideration the fact that Office Derek Chauvin was the one whose knee and almost entire body weight was pressing against Floyd’s carotid artery for that long. Court documents, however, indicate that Officer Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s neck for much closer to nine minutes. Nevertheless, the fact that Officer Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck that long doesn’t even factor in the two minutes and 53 seconds Floyd was found unresponsive.
Is it any wonder, any surprise, then, that Floyd was murdered by the police officer’s knee, whose foot movements were operated like a winch to keep increasing the pressure on Floyd’s neck and cut off blood supply to his brain and body, as everyone had witnessed from a bystander’s close-up videotapes of Floyd in the prone position? Is anyone astonished that this was nothing more blatant than unreasonable, excessive and inappropriate use of force, particularly since Floyd was unarmed and had already been subdued by the police with handcuffs?
What is truly astonishing is the fact that the day the murder was unfolding in front of cameras, witnesses and other bystanders — despite the fact that Floyd had repeatedly begged Officer Chauvin to take his knee off his neck, the fact that Floyd had pleaded with Officer Chauvin to let him breathe, the fact that Floyd had asked Officer Chauvin to let him see his mother, the fact that Floyd kept complaining to Officer Chauvin that he was unable to breathe — none of those dire, time-sensitive requests were ever enough for Officer Chauvin to stop pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck; they fell on deaf ears. Nor was the alarm bell loud enough for Officer Chauvin when his colleague questioned whether Floyd should be rolled onto his side and when a bystander kept begging the officer to take his knee off Floyd’s neck and check his pulse. None of that seemed to matter to Officer Chauvin, as Floyd continued crying out for help, making others who watched his cold-blooded murder unfold sick to their stomachs.
Not only did Floyd’s desperate requests and those of bystanders go unheard and ignored while he lay dying on the ground with his last breath having been brutally snuffed out by Officer Chauvin, but the officer showed no compassion, no empathy, not one ounce of humanity, as he continued that egregious day to take Floyd’s life.
Officer Chauvin was arrested May 29, 2020 on charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter for Floyd’s death, and, without a doubt, it will be up to the 14-person grand jury and Judge Peter Cahill to prove the cause of death by homicide and deliver justice, once and for all, to George Floyd’s family and in the name of George Floyd and all African Americans. The court failing to deliver justice would set a dangerous precedent for other victims in the United States.
As Attorney Crump said earlier this morning, “the whole world is watching.”