Right on schedule, some news media and social media posters have begun circulating excerpts from George Floyd’s prior criminal record.
Earlier this week, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported that 13 years ago, Floyd was charged in Houston,Texas with Armed Robbery with a deadly weapon. After reviewing the probable cause affidavit in that matter myself this morning, it was alleged that Floyd and another suspect forced their way into a pregnant woman’s home, assaulted her by pointing a weapon at her stomach, demanded money and drugs and after finding none, fled with several items of value. The AJC also reported that Floyd entered a plea deal–one from professional experience allows me to say that it was not copped without the victim’s knowledge of the terms, and later paid his debt to society and the victim by serving time in prison. Floyd later moved to Minnesota where in addition to driving trucks, he served as a security guard for several businesses and one night club.
After having read this report and the pc affidavit, I am left with one question: “what does a prior criminal act from 2007 have to do with Floyd being murdered by the police?”
Time and again, when a Black person is killed by the police, the inevitable “background search” that is really an attempt to assassinate the deceased victim’s character appears. In this instance, Officer Derek Chauvin and his murderous cronies killed Floyd over an allegation that he used a fake $20 dollar bill to purchase items at a corner store–a minor offense at best. So whatever crimes or sins that Floyd may have committed in his past had NOTHING to do with the cops cruel, evil, and reckless decision to literally squeeze the life out of this man’s body as he begged them to let him breathe–all the while calling out for his mother.
Nothing at all…
Pertinent to today’s discussion is the juxtaposition of Dylann Roof, a well armed young white man who was suspected of killing nine people at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2016. Roof, after committing mass murder, was gently taken into custody and even provided a meal at the station while Floyd, “suspected” of passing a fake $20, was slowly and agonizingly tortured and choked to death for all the world to see.
In the criminal courts, no judge will allow a rape victim’s lack of chastity to be used as a defense to rape. A woman or a man could have had as many sex partners as the late Wilt Chamberlain claimed and if on a given day they say “no” to a man or woman, and said man or woman goes on to force sex anyway, they become a rape victim–the man/woman becomes a rape defendant–and the victim will be treated as a victim without mention of their past promiscuous behavior.
Similarly, a victim of murder will not have his or her past paraded in court unless somehow that past is tied into how they were killed. That is not the case with regards to Floyd in that not only was he not apprehended for any armed robbery or aggravated battery, but even if that had been the alleged crime, the videos clearly show that when he was taken into custody, he was fully compliant and did not resist arrest at all.
The journalists writing these articles know (or should know) that there is no relevance to Floyd’s past and his murder this past week, as should social media posters who are circulating the same. But such is the nature of the greater story arc in America, one in which Black people are not provided the protections of the law that are afforded to whites in America. Such is why the criminal justice system remains by and large as separate and unequal as it was during the worst days of Jim Crow; such is why people who recognize these disparities continue to protest in both peaceful and agitated forms, to bring light to the fact that this morning, Dylann Roof is alive in a cell after slaughtering nine innocent people, while George Floyd is at a funeral home after summarily losing his rights to due process of laws–and his very life.
George Floyd should be alive…he is not…he deserved better…
Lest we forget!