Protests Continue After the Death of George Floyd

After George Floyd, an African-American man, was killed by white police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, Minnesota, protests centered around police brutality and racism have erupted around the country.

A video taken by bystanders on the scene shows officer Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for a total of eight minutes and 46 seconds. Chauvin continued to leave his knee on Floyd’s neck when he became unresponsive almost three minutes before the paramedics arrived at the scene. Four days after the incident, Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and taken into police custody. The three other officers present at the time of Floyd’s arrest and death were fired from the force and charged with aiding and abetting in murder.

“Police brutality is something that America continually has to deal with, and I do not think it is something we should be having to deal with,” said Kailynne Staples, junior at Cam High. “The situation [arrest of Floyd] should not have escalated in the way that it did. Floyd even said multiple times that he could not breathe.”

Since video footage of Floyd’s death has been released online, millions of protesters have taken to the streets to speak against police violence and racism. Along with these peaceful protests, mass riots and looting has taken place in over 140 cities across the United States. So far, 40 cities have enforced mandatory curfews and the National Guard has been dispatched in 15 states. There have also been over 4,400 arrests made related to the riots in the past eight days.

“Watching the news and reading what people have to say, it’s just all so much,” said Maddie Francisco, junior at Cam High. “People are fighting for equality, and it breaks my heart that we even have to protest for equal rights.”

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo addressed the Floyd family via CNN’s live stream on May 31. He apologized and removed his hat as a gesture of respect. Following his example, police forces across the country, including Oklahoma City, OK and Coral Gables, FL, have publicly demonstrated their support for the movement, taking a knee alongside the protesters.

However, reports of police violence have been documented amidst the protests. Video footage shows several incidents of policemen firing rubber bullets and utilizing chemical weapons against peaceful demonstrations. Although these methods of non-lethal defense are typically used to disperse crowds of looters, many protesters allege that such weapons were used against them without any provocation.

In an attempt to control rioting and looting, several cities have also implemented strict curfews that were enforced by arrests and steep fines.

Police-protester violence grew on June 1 when U.S. President Donald Trump walked across Lafayette Square for a photo-op in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church. Reports claim that peaceful demonstrations taking place in and around the square were forcefully removed without provocation in order to accommodate the President, sparking controversy upon the excessive use of force on peaceful demonstrations.

“When performing their duties, the police and National Guard have to remember that everyone is a human being who has the basic right to peacefully protest,” said junior Layla Dominguez.

Trump recently announced that he will be removing the National Guard from Washington D.C. since the protests in the capital have continued to be peaceful gatherings. Many people criticized Trump for his harsh response to the protests and his promotion of violence.

Protests across the world have also joined in to show their support, calling for an end to racial discrimination. Demonstrators have taken public action in several parts of Europe, Canada, New Zealand, England, Australia, and Brazil with the chant, “No justice, no peace.” On June 6, over 100 Camarillo citizens peacefully gathered at Constitution Park to support the Black Lives Matter Movement.