In the eyes of many, the case surrounding the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has, until now, seemed to be a clear case of alleged indiscriminate police brutality wherein a white police officer callously killed an unknown, unarmed black man.
Indeed, video footage of the events leading up to Floyd’s death seems to support the latter part of that.
But a potential personal connection discovered between Floyd, 46, and the former Minneapolis police officer who placed his knee over Floyd’s neck, 44-year-old Derek Chauvin, could signal there is more to the case than meets the eye.
Cellphone video of the incident is obviously deeply disturbing, and appears to show Chauvin slowly suffocate Floyd, despite the man begging him for air.
Chauvin was fired after 19 years on the police force immediately following the incident, along with three other officers who stood by idly, and Chauvin was arrested Friday and charged with third degree murder and manslaughter.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says that his office will press charges of manslaughter and 3rd degree murder against former Officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.
“This is by far the fastest we’ve ever charged a police officer.” pic.twitter.com/5jwrmney5F
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) May 29, 2020
While it is not the media’s job to try people for crimes, it is admittedly difficult to make a case that Chauvin did anything other than kill Floyd — either intentionally or unintentionally.
Derek Chauvin, former Minneapolis police officer, has been charged with 3rd-degree murder and manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd. pic.twitter.com/Xg6fvFBeEn
— UberFacts (@UberFacts) May 29, 2020
Thankfully, a court will determine that.
But it’s also of the utmost importance to know if there was some personal motive behind Chauvin’s actions.
KSTP reported late Thursday that Floyd and Chauvin both worked security at the same night club, and that their shifts sometimes overlapped during a period of time last year.
The former owner of the El Nuevo Rodeo club in Minneapolis told the outlet of the connection between the two men.
“Chauvin was our off-duty police for almost the entirety of the 17 years that we were open,” Maya Santamaria said, adding that Floyd also worked security at the club.
“They were working together at the same time, it’s just that Chauvin worked outside and the security guards were inside.”
Santamaria could not speak as to if the two knew each other.
But the peculiar connection between Floyd and Chauvin is at least worth further examination in favor of reactionary conclusions and behavior, and could change the complexity of the case.
Perhaps this is a case of murder — one that was committed with a disdain for Floyd the person, and not Floyd the unarmed and unknown black man.
Maybe the pair had never met, and the connection is immaterial.
The facts are still coming to light.
But if Chauvin’s actions in the deadly altercation were motivated by some sort of a personal problem with Floyd, and not a desire to indiscriminately target and kill a black man in front of multiple witnesses, then that should give pause to those portraying law enforcement and the criminal justice system as being inherently biased against minority Americans.
Chauvin’s actions, at least with how they appear on video, should trouble all people who care for the dignity of human life.
But this shouldn’t be a referendum on every officer in the city or country, and there is a chance that blind racism, as is being asserted, might have nothing to do with this case.
If people truly want to honor the memory of Floyd, they should wait for the facts to fully emerge.
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