The explanation of George Floyd’s death is summarized as follows: ‘Racist White police officers arbitrarily ended the life of a Black male by subjecting him to excessive and inappropriate physical abuse.’ This interpretation of Floyd’s death is favored by social activists who view Floyd as an American hero. But before we accept Floyd’s hero status, let’s review highlights of his death.
Minneapolis police responded to a complaint that George Floyd passed a counterfeit $20 dollar bill. As police approached him, Floyd began behaving bizarrely, refusing to cooperate, and appeared out of control. Claiming claustrophobia, Floyd refused to get into the police car. It took four police officers to finally subdue the frenzied Floyd. Eventually the unruly Floyd was pinned to the ground. An officer restrained him by holding his knee against his neck as the officer had been trained to do.
Floyd’s widely reported comment “I can’t breathe” gives the impression that his death occurred while he was being restrained by police officers. But he was still alive after an ambulance took him to the hospital. Upon examination, abnormal, almost fatal, levels of the illicit drugs crystal meth and fentanyl were found in Floyd’s system. The excessive amounts of illicit drugs in his system combined with his enlarged heart and history of heart disease could have caused his death.
However, these life threatening medical complications conflict with the officially sanctioned cause of death, the knee hold on his neck . Consequently, the officer whose knee subdued Floyd was sent to prison for 22.5 years. And Floyd’s family received $27 million dollars from the city of Minnesota as a wrongful death settlement.
Floyd soon became a cause-celebre with social activists and his death was exploited by protesters in all 50 states as well as 60 foreign countries. Murals began appearing across the globe depicting a kindly George Floyd, sometimes wearing angel wings. Protesters ignored the fact that Floyd had served prison sentences for various offenses.
Professional race-baiters wasted no time in accusing police of racism and cruelty to Blacks. Rep. Barbara Lee (DTexas) stated “… yet across the country, Confederate statues and monuments still pay tribute to white supremacy and slavery in public spaces..." Although Floyd’s death occurred in Minnesota on the Canadian border, Rep. Lee manages to implicate Southern Confederate monuments.
Also, in a typical knee-jerk reaction to George Floyd’s death, a Congressional Committee demanded the renaming of nine military bases in Southern states that were named after Confederate leaders. The demand also stipulated that some bases should be renamed after women and Black leaders, regardless of military experience. Again we wonder how removing Confederate names from Southeastern military bases mitigates wrongful acts by police in Upper Midwestern Minnesota.
Contrary to Leftist media and social activists, the police acted appropriately and lawfully in their encounter with George Floyd. And Floyd would still be alive if he had simply allowed police to perform their duties rather than physically resisting their efforts. Most citizens, regardless of race or ethnic group, cooperate with law enforcement, consequently violent encounters are usually avoided.
The once thriving now almost defunct NAACP considers George Floyd ‘An American Hero’ but that opinion is not uniformly shared by the black community. In fact, some regard Floyd as one of society’s wastrels.
Candace Owen, Black political commentator and talk show host, denounced Floyd in a tirade that included these comments: "For whatever reason it has become fashionable over the last five or six years for us to turn criminals into heroes overnight. It is something I find despicable. George Floyd was not an amazing person. I refuse to accept the narrative that this person is a martyr or should be lifted up in the black community.”
Gail Jarvis is a Georgia-based free-lance writer. His writing is influenced by witnessing how versions of news and history were distorted for fashionable political reasons. Mr. Jarvis is a member of the Society of Independent Southern Historians and his articles have appeared on various websites, magazines, and publications for several organizations. He lives in Coastal Georgia with his wife.