Like all people concerned about issues of social justice, I for one thought the live-streaming asphyxiation of George Floyd in Minneapolis MN, last spring 2020 by then, now former, notorious police officer Derek Chauvin, signalled the end of that era of wanton brutalizing of Black people, notably males, by police.
But common sense soon kicked in, reminding me that history much like change are institutional constructs which, depending on the vying forces, serves some peoples’ ends… So resistance invariably becomes a natural aspect of the mix… by shooting them with multiple rounds in the back… or back of the head.
What Chauvin did to Floyd that Memorial Day was a departure from the norm. Rather than shooting that Black man with multiple rounds in the back… or back of the head, a common police practice of vigilantes — citizens and rogue police alike, going back centuries and generations (based on historical anecdotes and references), he essentially introduced an unorthodox, albeit illegal method of doing dirty, inhumane police work, which most people had never seen before — at least not live, in broad daylight — for obvious reasons. As such, it incurred the vociferous wrath of millions of people not just in North America, but across the globe, what is a different world.
Today, the names of primary actors, as well as images of players and actions continue to reverberate… are at our fingertips.
Little did Chauvin know at the time he was unveiling a ‘new and improved’ but illegal and potentially fatal mode of policing, which might be emulated by impressionable recruits, future rogue police of his ilk, that he might be on to something that would instil a greater degree of fear, especially in Black men — future generations and offspring of the slaves.
And there are always ample numbers of Black males in (sub)urban North America to coerce… at gunpoint.
Since George Floyd, we’ve seen multiple, often innocent Black men on news programs interacting with, begging… (yes siring!…) to white policemen for their lives. And we know and understand that white policemen genuinely do not believe that Black Lives do not matter…
I have no recollection of the last time I’ve seen a young white male being roughed up by police. Perhaps they’re all law abiding citizens…?
Since George Floyd we’ve seen multiple television news stories and social media footage of Black men under a police gun, “Yes siring…!” their way out of recurring (“I thought he had a gun…”) excuses/scenarios involving police threats of “blowing your expletive head off”, or occasionally withholding threats and going all the way as is regularly done down there, by simply planting a bullet in the head of another perceived expendable Black person.
Video footage of such an incident was recently evident here in Montreal, seen on local news, where a Black teenager was being manhandled by police, the teen at their mercy, one of them utilizing a Chauvenesque strategy, his knee on the neck of the 14-year-old.
Maybe he was practicing for a potential… future encounter?
That policeman and his colleagues made the news; bet he and the others never expected to be seen making their television debut and the news that way: not adhering to, or disrespecting their logo/moniker and pledge: “Ensemble pour mieux servir” (“Together to serve you better”). Hmmm…
See how Black peoples’ struggle for human rights is perpetual — until…?
But to paraphrase the old saying, “There’s more than one way to kill a Black male.
Recall N. Y. police officer Daniel Pantaleo was seen in a widely viewed cellphone video using a banned chokehold on Eric Garner, who later died.
Pantaleo got off easy; he was never charged in Garner’s death. And a grand jury quote: “found no reasonable cause” to indict him on criminal charges.”
Which is why some cops in America, and perhaps Canada (I assume they’re white) counter: “Blue Lives Matter…”
Unlike Chauvin, that officer was let off easy; he was fired.
There’s no doubt that other police have done similar dirty work off camera, but Chauvin probably thought his ‘killing mode’ aided and abetted by his four trainees would go unnoticed. Big mistake. He simply conjured the wrath of millions worldwide, by exposing some of the dark and dubious side of what American contemporary and founding history really is (a side that has been kept under the proverbial rug of history since its colonial discovery and the cleansing process… which continues at the behest of a now, politically sidelined ultra-nationalist, political racist.
In New York City for example they advertise their CPR (Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect). Wonder which police outfit delivers/guarantees the best service to Black people, particularly to Black males that specious threat.
Fortunately, Canada is still a bit more civilized? But don’t think for a moment that toxic sentiments dissipate in the winds once they get to the southern border.
There is a significant demographic of impressionable people here who would fare well in that socio-political atmosphere down the way, but opt to remain here because they prefer the more relatively stable and socially innocuous environment that exists here. That said, we must be aware of recurring rumours of cells… seeded here that would nurture chaos here if afforded the opportunity and conditions…
Read Langston Hughes’ poem “I, Too…”
I watched a PBS documentary a couple months ago in which he was one of the featured guests; he read his poem “I, Too…”
See and understand how Black peoples’ struggle for human rights is generational, and perpetual, until…
We’re reliving the generational past and future in the present…