I have to believe that the vast majority of Americans felt outrage over the senseless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis over a week ago. I cannot sit here and defend the actions of the officer that has been charged, and more importantly, the lack of action by the other three officers who stood by as Mr. Floyd had his life taken from him.
All the circumstances surrounding why those officers were called to that location and how they actually interacted with Mr. Floyd have now been lost in the turmoil that has ensued since May 25th, and only time will allow the whole story to be told. Moreover, there doesn’t appear to be any excuse for what happened on that fateful day which cost the young black man to lose his life at the hands of a white police officer.
I actually feel ill every time I see that video shown on the various news channels. You have to wonder what possesses those media outlets to continue to inflame the situation by continuing to run it over and over again. The poor man’s family should not have to see that clip on a daily basis, as media outlets seek to gain market share. Mr. Floyd’s family should be left to grieve and comfort each other during this horrific time in their lives.
Choke holds and other similar manners of restraint were outlawed years ago. Progressive training in law enforcement agencies around the country have banned such use of force and provided officers with the necessary training and equipment to deal with challenges such as this. There is no justification for the death of Mr. Floyd due to the actions of officers in this manner.
We live in a difficult enough time for our law enforcement professionals today, without witnessing the actions of an exceedingly small percentage of those that wear the badge and dishonor it. Their actions stain the professional integrity of those men and women who proudly take an oath to serve and protect.
I understand the frustration of those that may have been close to the Floyd family as they grieve for a loved one. That hurt and void in their lives will never fully go away, it will linger with them for years to come.
However, the lawlessness and criminal activity that has sprung up since that senseless act on that Monday has overshadowed the loss of Mr. Floyd and the injustice done to him and his family.
Proud families who have invested their life savings into building businesses and livelihoods for themselves and their employees have seen their dreams go up in flames, as rioters have stripped them of their dreams for a better life. The perpetrators didn’t care that these were proud African American families, they just wanted to see something burn.
A retired firefighter, who invested his entire life savings into a Sports Bar in the neighborhood he grew up in could be seen weeping at the edge of smoldering ruins which was once his dream and was now his worst nightmare.
Scenes being replayed on the nightly news of looters and rioting teenagers coming out of department stores carrying Nike sneakers, 65-inch Televisions, cases of liquor and anything they could carry would horrify us all. Those scenes would remind me of the riots in the 60s and 70s which saw so much carnage done in our great cities.
Those participating in these acts of violence, looting, arson and willful destruction of property are not doing it in response to the senseless cruelty inflicted on George Floyd. They are instead acting out in the most primal and evil instincts known to man. They will destroy everything in their patch with no consideration to those they will hurt.
Law enforcement professionals are possibly facing some of the most demanding challenges of our times, with protest marches even visible on the streets of Naples, calling out for justice under some fairly tense moments, testing the resolve of officers. To the credit of both sides, no serious altercations took place and no damages or injuries were sustained.
These protests here in Naples, in Tampa, New York and so many other communities around the country have certainly changed the narrative in our nation and it is unclear when the lawlessness will stop.
Some have said this violence is being fueled by those that have alternative motives. Surely they don’t care about George Floyd, but instead will seek to inflict the most damage upon a culture they feel no connection to. How far they will be allowed to disrupt everyday life and the health and safety of the vast majority of Americans is uncertain.
A week after the eruption of the violence and destruction that has rocked some of our communities, George Floyd’s younger brother has publicly called for the cessation of violence, looting and clashes with police.
These have been dark days, but as a nation and a people, we must recommit ourselves to the greatness that has been a hallmark of our nation. We must continue to pledge to root out intolerance commit ourselves to live up to a higher standard.