Commentary

Austin: Today Marks the Anniversary of George Floyd's Killing - Here's the Lesson It Should Have Taught Us

A year ago today, George Floyd was killed by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, in what later proved to be the seminal moment of 2020.

Since then, activists have repeatedly insisted that Floyd’s death is representative of a larger issue — that Floyd was killed simply for being black, as is supposedly the case with the majority of police shootings and killings of minorities.

Subsequently, Floyd was elevated to martyrdom. His image is now enshrined by BLM activists as a symbol of faith and solidarity with the struggle against so-called “systemic racism.”

In other words, Floyd’s death taught us all of the wrong lessons.

There is absolutely no evidence that Floyd was targeted because of his race.

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In fact, common sense leads us to the opposite conclusion — if Floyd’s race had been anything other than black, events likely would have played out in exactly the same way.

Floyd’s death was precipitated by several minutes of Floyd acting erratically, struggling with officers and resisting arrest.

A video of the arrest shows that, at one point, Floyd was even in the back of a police vehicle, but then opted to crawl his way out onto the ground, where he was later killed by Chauvin.

This was likely due to the fact that Floyd had high levels of fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system at the time, as was shown in the autopsy report, according to NPR.

Is American policing irredeemably racist?

None of this is to say that Chauvin was justified in his actions — he almost certainly was not (and despite the supposed brokenness of our justice system, has been found guilty of murder).

Nevertheless, one simple truth remains — if Floyd hadn’t resisted arrest, Chauvin would never have felt the need to restrain him with a knee to the neck.

If Floyd hadn’t resisted arrest, it is incredibly likely he would be alive today.

Sadly, this appears to be more common within the black community, as several reports suggest black Americans are much more likely to be charged with resisting arrest.

What also exacerbates the number of police shootings of black Americans is the higher prevalence of black crime.

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According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics report from 2018, black Americans make up 12.5 percent of the population but commit 33 percent of nonfatal violent crimes and 36.1 percent of nonfatal violent crimes excluding other assault.

Inevitably, the more violent crime a community commits as a whole, the more police presence that community will have. This means there are more interactions between the police and members of the black community, for instance, than there are interactions between the police and members of the white community, Asian community, Hispanic community and so on.

As the number of interactions increases, so does the likelihood that an accident — or a misappropriation of force, as was the case with Chauvin — will occur.

So, the higher percentage of police shootings in black communities isn’t being driven by “systemic racism.”

It’s being driven by crime in black communities.

And when members of those communities are more likely to resist arrest, what results is a recipe for disaster.

The lesson we should have learned from Floyd’s killing was not that American policing is irredeemably racist.

The lesson we should have learned is that violence begets violence.

If members of any race choose to resist arrest, they are putting themselves at risk of suffering the same fate that Floyd did.

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Michael Austin joined The Western Journal as a staff reporter in 2020. Since then, he has authored hundreds of stories, including several original reports. He also co-hosts the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."
Michael Austin joined The Western Journal as a staff reporter in 2020. Since then, he has authored hundreds of stories, including several original reports. He also co-hosts the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."
Birthplace
Ames, Iowa




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