May 25, George Floyd Day

Black Americans are three times more likely than whites to be killed by police.

Last year, I published every day a digital sketch, picturing something I had seen that day, or a short story about nature, a happy moment, or a comment on the news. In late May, I posted this one. There was no story, no commentary; it just said his name: George Floyd.

For the first time in my life, I had seen a man being tortured to death. The Floyd family lawyer later spoke about a torture video, and I can't find why mainstream media wrote about murder instead of torture to death. What part of those nine minutes and 29 seconds was not clear to those journalists? Suffocation is a well-known and cruel torture technique. The world has now seen what it looks like on a black victim in handcuffs and a white policeman performing it.

It was not a shooting incident, with lots of confusion or vague video shots. We all know precisely what we saw. There was no panic amongst the police officers. They were entirely in control; there was no threat nor any shame for what they did. They took their time for this execution in broad daylight while videos recorded their actions.

George Floyd Day

The world watched in horror. Today, a year later, George Floyd is not only remembered in the U.S. but worldwide; May 25, George Floyd Day. I looked at the statistics: in the past year, the U.S. police have killed over 1,000 people. Police officers were only charged for 16 of those. Black Americans are three times more likely than whites to be killed by police.

A year later, there is still no agreement on policy reform legislation. George Floyd's brother commented: "If you can make federal laws to protect … the bald eagle, you can make federal laws to protect people of color."

A few days after the murder, while protests took place all over the world. I looked at the pictures on my phone to see what I did on May 25. I had walked on the beach and sat on the dunes' warm sand on the quiet Dutch island where I lived. I love to go to that spot, where I feel the freedom of those wide deserted beaches and enjoy breathing the fresh air of the North Sea. The sharp contrast increased my feelings of anger and injustice.

I spent the last hour browsing through articles and tweets about George Floyd. It made me deeply sad to read about the systematic racism in law enforcement, compare statistics, read personal experiences of people of color, and see the picture of a happy George Floyd with his young daughter on his arm.


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Notes:

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/blacks-whites-police-deaths-disparity/