It’s been a couple of months since the murder of George Floyd, a black man in America who died at the hands (or, specifically, the knee) of a police officer and sparked a global protest wave that, whilst lowering, is still active. Recently, bodycam footage of the 8-10 minutes prior to the infamous clip everyone saw months ago was leaked. You better believe people had some strong but entirely deluded opinions on this extra footage.
Here is the video in question, posted by the pinnacle of nice journalism and readership, the Daily Mail (obviously do not watch it if you find the content disturbing):
This has been touted as “new” information regarding George Floyd’s arrest, but it really does not add anything of worth to the case. Nothing in the footage justifies the actions that we were already aware of in the immediate aftermath of the murder, and it only further proves the brutality and force used by the police in this instance.
But it has been spread like wildfire to large parts of the population who have soaked up this narrative that George Floyd’s death was justified, the media had been lying to us since day one, and that the Black Lives Matter protests that took place were predicated on this lie and caused “untold damage” for no reason. Just take a look at the comments under the Daily Mail video, which has (as of writing) over 5 million views.
Black Pigeon Speaks is a YouTuber I am aware of from having watched a video debunking his claims that women who are given freedom, particularly “sexual liberation”, do, and will, destroy civilisations. Points for guessing his views on women, and bonus for his views on black people.
The implication being a video posing a “threat” to the narrative is being “suppressed” by notably left-leaning, Google-owned giant YouTube. Not even a tentative suggestion that maybe a distressing video of the moments preceding a man’s death might not be the nicest thing to have displayed all over the homepage of your website.
“Let’s defund the media. Causing such chaos should be illegal. Enough is enough.”
“If this video had been leaked the “DAY AFTER” George Floyd’s death… it could have prevented riots…”
“People will deny the existence of this video.”
“Why isn’t this video being replayed over and over by the media? Like they did the part about “I can’t breathe”?”
Really, you get the idea. People believe that the footage that has been leaked justifies the death of George Floyd, that the police officers should be exonerated of their crimes, and that the media and protestors were complicit in “riots”.
Let’s try and go through this bit by bit. Firstly, the bodycam footage was leaked a few days ago and the public got to see it for the first time since the murder took place. It is almost certain that those responsible for investigating and prosecuting the case against the officers involved would have had access to this information, even if the media and/or the public did not. Secondly, even if they did not have access to it, you would then have to prove that what took place in the bodycam footage not only justified the murder of George Floyd, but also that the police were not responsible for his death at all.
Watching the video, and knowing the facts surrounding the case, does not reach that conclusion. If fact, it only proves George Floyd’s death was indeed murder (to the second degree, which will be mildly relevant later), and that his interaction with the police was heavily influenced by the colour of his skin. The reason the cops were after him at all was his attempt to use a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store (unlike the article’s headline suggests, the store is not in any way responsible for the murder, in my opinion, regardless of policy not being followed – that is solely on the cops).
In the video, a firearm is instantly introduced and pointed at George Floyd, who had done nothing at this stage but open his car door. Where people start saying he “resisted arrest” was when he was asked to step out of the car. He didn’t do so straight away, and when the cop grabbed his arm he did try to pull back, as any rational person who is crying and begging to not be shot would probably do. He does step out, and as they handcuff him, they demand he stop resisting, which he very clearly wasn’t, and he even states that he wasn’t.
Later on, when they take him to the police car, he is very clearly in distress and, as they try to get him into the car, he claims he is claustrophobic. The officers offer to open the windows for him, which they don’t do before dragging him in from the other side, and George Floyd even thanks them when they say they will stay with him in the car. He continuously tries to talk to them and says he’s “not that type of guy”, presumably meaning he is not violent, and nothing in his conduct suggests he was a threat in any capacity.
As he is dragged through the car, he yells out and struggles, very clearly having what was probably a panic attack, and for the first time he says, “I can’t breathe.” He ends up falling out the other end of the car and asks to be laid on the ground, understandable if he wanted to avoid the car and try calm down. We know what happens after that.
I’m not even going to bother discussing how the issue could have been avoided if the police had acted appropriately and with the slightest empathy, but instead focus on how this video does not justify George Floyd’s murder – what a dark sentence to write.
Basic point first: nothing George Floyd did before, during, or after the video in question warranted any force being used, let alone having a firearm pointed at him and his subsequent death on the ground. His drug use (which was a negligible factor during the arrest), the attempt to use counterfeit currency, his agitation and distress in the presence of armed police (as a black man), and his struggle in the police car – none of it justifies him dying.
His drug use was not the cause of his death. The autopsy report stated that asphyxiation had killed him – the act of holding him down with a knee upon his neck ended his life. Yet there are still many who claim that he overdosed or had a health condition that triggered a heart attack or some similar problem. Even if this were true, the actions of the police would have exacerbated those conditions, and the force and harm they were inflicting on his body caused him to die. Contributing factors do not magically negate the main cause.
Some, like Ben Shapiro, whose video has well over 1 million views, a supposed Harvard Law graduate, claimed it wasn’t murder for that reason. Shapiro says, incorrectly, that the death was not premeditated, so while he does not excuse the lesser acts leading up to George Floyd’s death, he pushes innocence for the death itself. But murder to the second degree does not require the death to be premeditated, only that the intentional actions of the murderer caused the death (I’m sure the legal vernacular has more flowery and exact language). It was still, legally, very much a murder.
Ben Shapiro and others also disgustingly contended that George Floyd saying, “I can’t breathe,” before he is even on the ground proves it was not asphyxiation caused by the police (again, in opposition to the evidence of the autopsy) that killed him. The YouTuber Vaush (who I’ve found recently and enjoyed quite a bit) gave a brilliant comparison.
His example was someone saying that their stomach hurt, that they were experiencing pain for whatever reason. Then, Ben Shapiro (he rather cheekily used Shapiro as the bad guy) shoots this person in the stomach, causing – you guessed it – stomach pain. But because they had claimed to be feeling stomach pain earlier, before the shot, that means the claim to stomach pain afterwards should not really be taken too seriously because there is no causal relationship between the stomach pain and any gun shots that happen to be in the stomach.
This is, obviously, an exaggerated scenario, but it is essentially the argument Ben Shapiro is making – George Floyd could not breathe prior to the knee being placed on his neck, therefore the knee on his neck had no apparent relation to the fact he could not breathe. This is from a Harvard Law grad, with a massive “conservative” following online, he’s basically a grifter producing inaccurate and shitty takes on events to pump out at masses of people who believe him, like Steven Crowder, PragerU, or any other dishonest fuck out there bankrolled by rich sponsors.
So no, this new bodycam footage does not “justify” the murder, it does not prove murder did not take place, and it doesn’t somehow make the media and public responsible for the ensuing protests based on a lie. In fact, it does the complete opposite. The murder was not justified at all, the charge is still murder to the second degree as the first video had already proved, and the media (as much as I like to bag them out) had reported this correctly from the start. I mean, the New York Times even had some of the “evidence” from this new footage back on May 31st.
Most people reading this will probably already know that George Floyd was murdered, and whether you knew about the bodycam footage or not, it doesn’t change anything. But for anyone who reads this who believes it was a fake narrative peddled by the media, I seriously recommend reviewing the evidence at hand, watching the video closely, and thinking – really thinking, not listening to online personalities – whether or not George Floyd actually deserved to die that day.
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