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  • Writer's pictureNathan Max

Charges Required in Floyd Killing

Updated: Dec 20, 2020

A Minneapolis police officer presses his knee into the neck of George Floyd during an arrest, leading to his death.

Cops need to learn how to do their job without killing people.

There is no justification for a police officer putting his knee on an already restrained man’s neck, let alone not releasing him when the individual is gasping for air and pleading for mercy. This is a crime.

George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on Monday should have never happened, and there needs to be severe repercussions for all four officers involved. These four men have rightfully had their badges stripped, but that is not enough. The Hennepin County Attorney must bring criminal charges.

Police cannot be permitted to kill people with impunity. This has transpired far too long. These men cannot possibly claim that they, “feared for their lives,” the oft-repeated canard that law enforcement uses when lethal forced is involved.

The cops claimed that Floyd was resisting arrest. Even if that were true, which nearby surveillance video proves is a lie, it still is not a legitimate excuse for this obvious example of excessive force. A man is on the ground, in handcuffs, and he is undoubtedly under the officers’ control. These men acted as judge, jury and executioner, something cops across the country have done with alarming regularity.

There needs to be wholesale retraining of police forces across the nation, from large cities to small towns, in de-escalation techniques. There have just been far too many examples of people -- disproportionately people of color, but not always -- being killed. Our police force’s job is to arrest people, not murder them.

When I was a cops reporter at the Riverside Press-Enterprise from 2004-06, I covered numerous incidents in which deputies killed civilians. No charges in any of these officer-involved shootings and deaths were ever filed, no matter how egregious the indiscretion.

When a police officer performing a welfare check emptied his clip into a well-known mentally-disturbed 74-year-old woman, who was standing inside her own house, holding a pitchfork and screaming at the cop to go away, the Riverside County District Attorney ruled the shooting justified and no charges were filed.

In July 2006, when the mother of a 21-year-old man named Raymond Mitchell called police to her home for assistance, because her son was having an autistic meltdown, the cops showed up and suffocated him to death. The Riverside County District Attorney ruled it was justified, and no charges were filed.

Back then, nobody seemed to care about all the people being killed, but that was before ubiquitous cell-phone cameras and surveillance videos showed how frequently cops were lying. We just all took their word for it, that they were the good guys.

The truth has been exposed, over and over, and people are tired of it. In too many instances, they are not the good guys. Nobody should have to live in fear of the police. Putting on that uniform shouldn’t give anyone the power to take lives without consequences. It’s supposed to be protect and serve, not harass and kill. As long as individuals like these four cops in Minneapolis aren’t held accountable, these incidents will never stop.

This is what former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick has been protesting. Not the flag. Not the military. Not the national anthem. This.

It’s time we listen to him. These men have rightfully lost their jobs. It’s a good start. Now, Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman must do his job and charge them with the crime we can all see they clearly committed.


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