George Floyd was murdered Monday evening. George Floyd was a black man who died underneath the knee of Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer. George Floyd died begging for his life, gasping “I can’t breathe,” listening to bystanders scream at Chauvin to stop, as Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly ten minutes.
This is a still photo of Derek Chauvin as he is slowly killing George Floyd. Look at it. Look at his face. Derek Chauvin is enjoying grinding his knee into the neck of a black man.
It matters that Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck for ten minutes, ignoring Floyd’s gasps and pleas. It matters that Bob Kroll, as head of the Minneapolis Police Union, sold “Cops For Trump” shirts prior to Trump’s rally in Minneapolis last year. It matters that when approximately 800 heavily armed, white protesters gathered outside Governor Tim Walz’s house on April 17, Trump shared his support by tweeting “LIBERATE MINNESOTA.”
It matters that Donald Trump has, in the past “joked” about police brutality. In 2017, while giving a speech to law-enforcement officers at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood, Long Island, Trump said:
“Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over? Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody—don’t hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, O.K.?”
It matters that Bob Kroll, head of the Minneapolis Police Union, would have been quite comfortable beating black civil rights workers in the 1960s. Kroll has been accused numerous times by activists of being racist, and his past seems to back up their claim.
In 1993, Kroll was sued for beating up a 15-year-old black boy while calling him racial slurs. In 2002, Kroll took part in a drug raid that targeted a Native American home. The residents of the home allege that Kroll, along with about a dozen other police officers, beat and humiliated them over a three-hour period, and violently pulled a pregnant woman out of the shower. In 2004, Kroll was suspended for 160 hours for his part in a brawl targeting a group of inebriated people dancing in the street, one of whom hit Kroll’s car. There are more accusations against Bob Kroll, which you can read here.
Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd because George Floyd was black. Bob Kroll has a long and sometimes violent history of racism against people of color.
It matters that Derek Chauvin’s police union is run by a vehement Trump supporter. Chauvin enjoyed murdering George Floyd, just as Donald Trump enjoys inciting violence against protesters and people of color. Derek Chauvin and the three other police officers participated in the murder of George Floyd have been fired. It matters that in response to the murder of George Floyd, Bob Kroll said this:
“Now is not the time rush to judgement and immediately condemn our officers. An in-depth investigation is underway. Our officers are fully cooperating. We must review all video. We must wait for the medical examiner’s report. Officers’ actions and training protocol will be carefully examined after the officers have provided their statements. The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis will provide full support to the involved officers. We ask that the community remain calm and let the investigation be completed in full.”
Not one comment about George Floyd, his family, his murder. No condolences, no mention of George Floyd’s name, nothing.
Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd, a black man. Derek Chauvin is represented by a police union run by Bob Kroll, Minneapolis’ own Bull Connor, a man with a long history of racism and violence. And again, Chauvin and the other three officers have been fired, but at the time of this article, none have been arrested. Chauvin has hired Tom Kelly as his lawyer. Kelly represented the St. Anthony police officer who murdered Philando Castile. That officer was acquitted of all charges.
George Floyd was murdered by Derek Chauvin. But George Floyd was also murdered by the Minneapolis police department, the Minneapolis Police Union, Bob Kroll, Donald Trump, and the systemic racism that runs like a toxic river through this state and country.
George Floyd, we will remember you