Series on Police Brutality Killings: Part 1

When discussing the issues of the recent police brutality deaths in America, it is important to discuss the underlying facts of each case.  To begin, we examine the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  On the evening of Memorial Day 2020, George Floyd entered the Cup Foods gas station and purchased a pack of cigarettes with a $20 bill.  He exited the store and returned to his vehicle across the street.  While sitting in his car with two other people, Mr. Floyd was approached by two of the employees of the gas station who demanded that he return the cigarettes, believing the $20 he paid with to be counterfeit.  When Mr. Floyd refused, the employees called the police stating that Mr. Floyd had passed “fake bills” and was “awfully drunk”. 

Officers Kueng and Lane arrived on scene and after a brief struggle, they eventually arrested Mr. Floyd by placing handcuffs on him.  The two officers attempted to put Mr. Floyd in the back of their squad car, and after being unable to do so, they had him sit on the curb.  At this point, according to prosecution, Mr. Floyd was calm and said, “Thank you”.  Officers Keung and Lane informed Mr. Floyd that he was under arrest and attempted to place him in the back of the squad car for the second time. During the second attempt, Mr. Floyd dropped to the ground and told the officers that he was claustrophobic. Officers Chauvin and Thao subsequently arrived on scene and Chauvin took command.   As Officer Keung struggled with Mr. Floyd, trying to get him in the vehicle, Chauvin grabbed Mr. Floyd and dragged him across the rear seat to the other side of the car.  While Mr. Floyd lay on the cement on his chest in handcuffs, Officer Chauvin kneeled on Mr. Floyd’s neck.  Officer Kueng was applying pressure on his torso and Officer Lane was on his legs.  For 8 minutes and 46 seconds Officer Chauvin kneeled on Mr. Floyd’s neck while he was begging and pleading for his life. 

In the Breonna Taylor case, on the night of March 13, 2020, Ms. Taylor and her boyfriend were inside their apartment.  Prior to the incident, the police obtained a “no-knock” warrant for the residence where Ms. Taylor resided because they suspected the apartment of being connected with drug distribution.  The police claimed that they entered the residence after knocking multiple times and announcing themselves.  The neighbors and Mr. Walker (Taylor’s boyfriend) all dispute this fact, and claimed they only heard the battering ram hit the door.  At that time, Mr. Walker, a licensed firearm carrier, armed himself and fired shots towards the police officers believing them to be intruders.  He struck one of the officers, and they fired 20 shots back, eight of which struck Ms. Taylor while she was sleeping in her bed.  One officer even fired from the exterior of the house, although he did not hit anybody. 

In the Ahmaud Arbery case, William Bryan was in his vehicle and recording Mr. Arbery while he was jogging on the left-hand side of the road on February 23, 2020.  Later in the recording, a white pickup truck is seen parked on the right-hand side of the road, with Gregory McMichael standing on the bed of the truck and Travis McMichael standing by the passenger side door.  Mr. Arbery attempts to run around the passenger side of the truck and gets towards the front of the truck.  This is when Travis approaches him while holding a shotgun.  The video shows Mr. Arbery and Travis struggling, but is blocked behind the truck and the first gunshot is fired.  There is dispute as to what happened behind the truck, but ultimately the video shows Mr. Arbery and Travis grappling over the shotgun and when both parties disappear off screen and a second shot is fired.  The two appear back in front of the camera and Mr. Arbery is shot again point blank as he attempts to punch Travis and then falls on his face and is motionless prompting Travis to walk away.  Glynn County DA office advised GCPD not to make any arrests on February 24, on February 27, and once more on April 2.  In the Rayshard Brooks case, two Atlanta police officers responded to a Wendy’s incident because Mr. Brooks was sleeping in his vehicle and obstructing the drive through lane.  The officers gave Mr. Brooks a field sobriety test and he was cooperative and respectful. Then, according to the police, Mr. Brooks resisted and a struggle ensued.  Mr. Brooks eventually took one of the tasers off of one of the officers’ hip and began to run away.  As he was running away, one of the officers fired their weapon at Mr. Brooks, hitting him in the back.  Mr. Books was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

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