Police Brutality towards Black people still on a rise

International Social and Religious

One year after George Floyd’s death, Black people are three times more likely to be killed in police encounters, in the US.

Indore: Police officers in the United States of America (USA) have killed a person (almost) every day in 2021. More than 300 people have been shot dead so far, and Black people are three times more likely to be killed in such encounters. Only six days this year saw zero police killings. 

One year since George Floyd was killed by a police officer, racial killings by police continue to rise. Sixty-two Black people have been killed by police in 2021, so far. More than 200 Black people were killed by police in 2020. 

Data reveals that the rate of fatal shootings of Black people stands at 36 per million population. This is considerably higher than the 15 per million rate for white people as Black people constitute only 13 percent of USA’s population. 

People have been paying tribute to George Floyd on social media platforms.

Amnesty International, a non-profit organisation working for human rights, said, “The anniversary of George Floyd’s death is a painful reminder of the generations of violence towards Black people in the United States. Whilst today is as much about recognizing the inequalities, it’s also about pausing, reflecting, grieving and healing.”

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old Black man, was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Today marks one year since Floyd’s killing, which ignited the Black Lives Matter protest across the United States of America (USA) and around the world. 

President Joe Biden will meet Floyd’s family at the White House to mark the first anniversary of his killing. “The anniversary of George Floyd’s death — something that impacted the President personally and deeply, as it impacted millions of Americans, was a moment to call for action, to call for forward movement,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a press briefing. She also said that the President was keen to hear the Floyd family’s perspective on the proposed police reforms.

Social media platforms are filled with tributes to George Floyd. Many organisations have also planned events across the country. 

Many people are organising events in memory of Floyd across the US.

Here’s a look at the key moments that happened in the past year –

The incident

When Minneapolis police officers got a call about a possible fake $20 bill being used at a grocery store, they reached the spot and found George Floyd there. Within moments, he was handcuffed and police officer Derek Chauvin continued to press his knee on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes. Floyd was declared dead, and “I can’t breathe” became the last words to leave his mouth.

On May 29, Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Floyd was buried on June 9, 2020. 

After Floyd’s death, protests erupted across the USA condemning the police brutality against Black people. The protests first started in Minneapolis and soon spread across various countries. 

  • Black Lives Matter protests started in Minneapolis and soon spread throughout the world.

Chauvin guilty

Derek Chauvin was found guilty by Minnesota Fourth Judicial District Court on April 20, 2021. His charges include second-degree murder, which carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison,  third-degree murder, which has a maximum penalty of 25 years, and second-degree manslaughter, having 10 years sentence. Chauvin is scheduled to be sentenced on June 16.

A trial for three of the other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao, will begin in August.

Police reforms

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act was introduced by the Democrats and was passed by the House of Representatives in March 2021. President Biden was keen on passing the legislation on May 25, Floyd’s death anniversary. But, it is still stuck in the Senate and at least 10 Senate Republicans’ vote is needed for it to pass.

The act includes a provision for ending qualified immunity, which shields law enforcement officers from being sued by victims and their families for civil rights violations. It would also invest in police training, ban the use of chokeholds and establish a national database of police misconduct.

Ben Crump, Floyd family’s attorney said in an interview, “We don’t want to rush a bill just to say we did it on his anniversary. We want it to have meaning and be meaningful because that has George Floyd’s blood on this legislation and so many others.”