Amidst the fury and fear and devastation is an important question few are asking: How to avoid being a George Floyd, the man killed while being arrested In Minneapolis?
This is something all adults should be discussing with themselves and particularly with their children.
First off, fatal confrontations with police are a rare occurrence. Different studies indicate between 1,000 to 1,150 people die each year in the U.S. during these confrontations.
According to an expert quoted in a Washington Post study, that means out of the 50 million times police have contact with citizens each year (tickets, crime arrests, reporting crime, guarding events, etc.) 0.00002 percent end up in a fatal shooting, for example.
You are more than three times as likely to drown (3,500 deaths in the U.S. each year).
Police in Minneapolis were called to apprehend a seemingly intoxicated man who allegedly bought items at a store with a fake $20 bill. Whether he knew it or not is a worthy question. But that’s how it started.
When coming in contact with police, you should be respectful and listen to their questions and orders. They have jobs to do. While it is your right to be disrespectful, you do not have the right to reject their lawful orders, such as to get out of your car or place your hands behind your back while being arrested.
Video indicates that Minneapolis police had to drag Floyd out of the car he was riding in and apparently had to wrestle with him in the patrol car.
While police say Floyd was resisting, some witnesses said he didn’t. There are parts of the confrontation not visible in surveillance and bystander cell phone video, but when the arresting officers’ body cam video and audio are released, we will have a much clearer picture of what happened.
Being intoxicated on drugs or alcohol can easily worsen the outcome of your being in contact with police because of your inability to think clearly.
Floyd had methamphetamine and fentanyl in his system, according to the county coroner’s autopsy report. This is mixture is commonly known as a “speedball” and is part of the epidemic of opioid overdoses that are a leading cause of death in some age groups.
Not only does this mixture put you at a much higher risk of respiratory distress and failure, it strongly interferes with reasoning and decision-making.
Does any of this excuse the officer kneeling on his neck for eight minutes? Of course not. He’s been arrested, charged and is one of the most detested men on the planet.
While much of the protesting over George Floyd centers over the perception he was killed because he was black.
Let’s assume that is the case. Why don’t we seek answers to why this is? It’s a question with answers, hard answers about historic racism, paternalism, destructive and segregated government housing, redlined neighborhoods with failed schools, well-intentioned but harmful aid programs and a doubled illegitimacy rate.
I have often stated, if you want fewer blacks coming into contact with police, you have to get down to root causes, and that is so much harder than holding a sign or starting a fire.
We should work on that disparity, too, if we truly care about our brothers and sisters of color.
Speaking of which, when we have a big fire, do we just focus on the firefighter who does a bad job? No, we seek the cause of the fire.
I believe many will be angered by these words, not because they’re incorrect, but because they don’t conform to the ideals of those who seek power and control by dividing us along racial lines, even if it destroys our country.
In my opinion, there are those who don’t truly want to prevent another George Floyd. They want to use him while doing nothing to prevent the next one growing up in a tough neighborhood we helped create.
Mark Holmberg is a Tideland News contributor.