George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed,Terrance Franklin, William Green, Michael Brown, David McAtee, Natosha “Tony” McDade, Sean Reed, William Green, Christopher Whitfield, Anthony Hill, Jamarion Robinson, Gregory Hill Jr., Ryan Twyman, Jimmy Atchison, Jemel Roberson, DeAndre Ballard, Botham Shem Jean, Robert Lawrence White, Ramarley Graham, Manuel Loggins Jr., Trayvon Martin, Larry Eugene Jackson Jr. and too many others to name.
What do these individuals have in common? Being African-American, unarmed and killed by police brutality. Some were shot over 20 times; 37 rounds of ammunition killed one individual, and a 28-year-old man was riddled with 76 bullets.
These people were EMTs, veterans or active members of the military, security guards, husbands, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, yet so much more than simply a label. Many were younger than me.
Now, read those names again. Instead of just breezing over them, and allowing them to run together, put a face behind each of those 24 victims’ names. Can you?
I’ve looked up each of these people and viewed their pictures, as they smile in high school and college graduation photos, kiss and hug their children, hold the ones they love and stand with their families, providing a small glimpse into the lives of people who couldn’t possibly know they’d meet an untimely death or how quickly the unique light they brought to their loved ones’ lives would be unjustly extinguished.
George Floyd was restrained, placed on the ground and had a knee held to his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, as he repeatedly cried out he couldn’t breathe, begged for the officer’s knee to be lifted, continued to inform the officer of his pain, called out for his mother and finally stated they were going to kill him.
Why did this 46-year-old father get killed in such a forceful and inhumane way? Over a purchase at a store where the clerk called police believing the $20 bill Floyd had just given him was counterfeit.
The peaceful protests taking place, which I believe in, coincide with our First Amendment right to freedom of speech. However, I don’t agree with the looting and destruction caused by many who’ve exploited the situation for their own gains.
George Floyd is by no means the only unarmed black man killed unjustly by law enforcement, but I pray he’s the last. We must work together, regardless of if that’s through protests or simply speaking up when observing an unjust situation fueled by racism and prejudice. Take a stand against the suffering you’d never wish yourself or your loved ones be forced to go through.
“Those who do nothing while witnessing injustice and wrongdoing do worse than those who commit acts of injustice. The privileged have a responsibility to do what they know is right.”
-- Martin Luther King Jr.
Standard reporter Atlanta Northcutt can be reached at 473-2191.