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Looking Into the Mirror: Custodial Death Is Bad but Floyd Cannot Be Put on the Pedestal as a Martyr

Updated on June 10, 2020
emge profile image

MG is an air warrior and a global traveler who loves to visit and explore new places

Discussion

( After writing this short hub I had half a mind not to publish it because of the sensitive topic but a friend advised to let it go)

The death of George Lloyd is a sad event. Nobody in his right mind can condone the act which amounted to custodial death. All the four policemen including the man who kept his knee in the neck hold on Floyd have been charged with second-degree murder. There can be no sympathy for these cops.

America and in particular the American- African have felt greatly hurt by the killing of a compatriot by the police. This led to violent demonstrations. Though starting peacefully they soon degenerated into rioting, arson, and looting. I don't know how anybody can justify looting shops as a way to register a protest at the killing of a black at the hands of the police.

The police need to be sensitized and made more people-friendly. There is no doubt about it. This cannot be achieved by violent demonstrations, arson, and looting. There appears to be a method behind this madness and lumpen elements including the extreme left and the communists have been adding fuel to the fire and taken over the agitation.

But a surprise is that artists from all over the world are now depicting George Floyd as an angel and a hero. Many want to put him on a pedestal. In Minnesota, artists Xena Goldman, Cadex Herrera, Greta McLain, Niko Alexander, and Pablo Hernandez painted a mural to commemorate Floyd.

This hero-worship is a bit of a surprise to me because there is another side to the coin as well.

He was no angel

If we have a look at the life of George Floyd the 46-year-old African-American a different picture of the man emerges. In no way, he was an angel . He was a felon who had served a jail sentence.

Even his last act was to try and pass off a counterfeit $20 bill as genuine. There are so many other facets to him. Briefly;

  • He was under the influence of fentanyl and methamphetamine at the time of the arrest
  • Floyd has more than a decade-old criminal history at the time of the arrest and went to jail at least 5 times.
  • He pleads guilty to entering a woman’s home, pointing a gun at her stomach and searching the home for drugs and money, according to court records
  • Floyd was sentenced to 10 months in state jail for possession of cocaine in December 2005.
  • He had previously been sentenced to eight months for the same offense, stemming from an October 2002 arrest
  • Floyd was arrested in 2002 for criminal trespassing and served 30 days in jail
  • He had another stint for theft in August 1999.
  • Despite all the crimes listed above it still does not justify his killing at the hands of the police. At the same time to make a man a martyr for the African cause and try to put him on the pedestal as an angel is difficult to digest.

Last word

I did not know about the past life of George Lloyd and this was brought to me by a friend of mine in the Singapore club. I will again reiterate that once a person is in the custody of the police the job of the police is not to kill him but to file a charge sheet against him and proceed with a proper trial. Police failed to do and that is the crux of the problem.

Again I am not too happy with the performance of the police all over America and with such sophisticated lines of communication, I find it difficult to understand how the agitation which started as a peaceful became violent and lead to mass-scale looting, arson, and rioting. It means that the agitations were taken over by certain groups that have an ax to grind in creating mayhem in society I don't think there am is the emancipation of the black man but to create chaos.

All right-thinking people all over the world have to unite and ensure that any form of racial discrimination is not allowed but at the same time, we must not try and make someone an angel who was a common criminal.


Comments

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    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      12 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you Pamela, so nice of you to have commented.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      12 months ago from Sunny Florida

      You wrote such a good article that tells both sides of the story. George Floyd was no angel, despite what we were told by the family, but he did not deserve to be murdered. I think being in our homes for weeks due to the pandemic may have added to the hysteria and also black Americans have not been treated very well. I hope we can come together, MG.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      12 months ago from Singapore

      JC, You have justified violence as a means for getting rights. I however have a different perception. You had mentioned that India had a war of Independence. In India, Gandhi led a peaceful NO-VIOLENT movement called Satyagraha against British rule and he won. I suggest you see Sir Richard Attenborough's film "Gandhi".

      The down trodden lower caste in India never had violent agitations and now they have reservations in jobs (20%) earmarked for them and things are better. In case America is serious about doing away with racism why not reserve ALL jobs say 15% for blacks. Will it happen in America, I can say NO.

      Color incidentally is a defining problem not only in America but all over the world. I will only say that if the blacks had resorted to Satyagraha half a century back things would have been better. I have seen videos of rioters running away after breaking shops with costly goods like Apple computers etc. How will this further the rights of the African- American?.

      The US president is polarizing the color aspect for the next election and i don't support it, but ..... I think I will write an article on this. Thank you sir, I really appreciate your comments.

    • JC Scull profile image

      JC Scull 

      12 months ago from Gainesville, Florida

      Hello MG,

      Since we fought the Civil War 155 years ago, progress has been slow but it has happened. The attitudes toward people of color today are much better than it was a couple of centuries ago. However, it is an ongoing battle that will probably be with us for another couple of hundred years.

      Cultural change often happens in glacially slow speed but it does occur. Sometimes cultural change happens due to tectonic bouleversements such as riots, wars, revolutions and social upheaval.

      The undercurrents of racism we see today, have been with us for centuries. However, if we truly are the land of the free and the home of the brave, there is no room for racism in this country. These riots will reoccur time and again as long as we don't stare bigotry and intolerance in the face and push it back into the dark corner it belongs.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      12 months ago from Singapore

      JC, thank you, I see your point of view. My point is how do we change the ingrained bias of color going on for centuries. My point is that these violent acts will only harden many people's minds. Maybe if a different approach had been adopted it would have been better.

    • JC Scull profile image

      JC Scull 

      12 months ago from Gainesville, Florida

      MG,

      Keep one thing in mind. Freedom has never been given. It has always been taken. Every oppressed country, nation or people have always been forced to fight for their freedom, equality and justice.

      If I remember my history correctly, India had to fight a war of independence against the British.

      The awareness to the injustices perpetrated on people of color by a powerful White majority is happening right now as we speak. Many cities have undertaken a dialog to change the procedures under which their police departments have been operating for years. Discussions of "defunding" police departments are going on right now. People are speaking out from all walks of life. They are demanding that police stop brutalizing Black and Brown people.

      Will this change the hearts and minds of those who obstinately hate minorities and continue to try to hurt them? No. But laws can be enacted to criminalize their actions; budgeting can be put in place to bring awareness to the issues of discrimination; programs to uplift and help minority communities can be adopted by communities and municipalities.

      What do these disturbances achieve? A lot. Think of the Jim Crow era and how far we have come since then.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      12 months ago from Singapore

      JC, by these violent acts the blacks are insuring that discrimination will NOT go away. How will you change the heart? Tell me.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      12 months ago from Singapore

      JC, I appreciate your viewpoint. There is a lot of discrimination in the east as well and in India, the lower castes like Blacks are at the receiving end. But at the end of the day, an agitation followed by arson, looting is the best way to do away with this discrimination?? Does anybody think that discrimination will go away by looting shops and burning streets and attacking cops? If somebody says yes, then I have nothing to say.

    • JC Scull profile image

      JC Scull 

      12 months ago from Gainesville, Florida

      MG,

      People are protesting the killing of African Americans at the hands of the police. The number of Black men and sometimes women who have been unjustifiably killed by mostly White police officer is copious.

      Floyd is not a martyr. His death is merely emblematic of the deep ingrained racism that still plagues this country.

      His past makes no difference. Floyd represents a turning point in the frustration that a vast number of people worldwide feel about racial injustice. People have had enough, consequently, externalizing these feelings through social disobedience.

      We are experiencing an inflection point in our society spawn by the words and actions the current administration has used to divide the country into racial, social and political lines. The president of this country has attempted to normalize, even to some degree venerate the actions of bigots and racists. We are now seeing the effect of his words and actions.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      12 months ago from Singapore

      Doris, thank you. I am glad you made a positive comment.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      12 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you, Chitra, sweet of you to have commented.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      12 months ago from Beautiful South

      MG, I had just yesterday learned of the criminal proclivities of George Floyd. The man was not a martyr. Martyrs have legitimate causes to die for. He was simply a murder victim. Unfortunately, this time it was murder by the police. You have written a thoughtful article that puts him into perspective.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      12 months ago from New Delhi, India

      A thought provoking article, on a sensitive topic.

      It's quite normal for people with vested interests, to spoil the very purpose of a peaceful protest. This is happening around everywhere.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      12 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you Peggy for your comment

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      12 months ago from Houston, Texas

      In the eulogies, it was stated that while he may not have been perfect in all of his actions, in no way did George Floyd deserve to be killed by the police. It is because of being killed in such a horrific manner that he is now known worldwide. Changes will be made regarding policing policies.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      12 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you Leslie, you are a gem

    • lovemychris profile image

      Leslie McCowen 

      12 months ago from Cape Cod, USA

      Love your hubs emge. Very thought provoking.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      12 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you Leslie for your comment, I can't contest your reasoning. It's true.

    • lovemychris profile image

      Leslie McCowen 

      12 months ago from Cape Cod, USA

      I try to tell Trump supporters this.....the guy is a money launderer, a red liner, a fraud, takes money from charities, cheats on his wives, and lied about paying off a porn star and a playboy bunny to get elected.

      And yet.....they tell me he is sent from God.

      My guess is people represent things to others......Trump represents white grievance, Floyd represents black grievance.

      They are put on pedestals, the both of them.

      Martyrs for the cause.

      Only thing is......only one is a real martyr. The other is president of the USA.

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