In Memoriam: George Floyd, age 46

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George Floyd, selfie (Wikipedia)

For 46 years, George Floyd successfully negotiated the dangers surrounding him as an African-American in the USA.

He was born and raised in Houston, Texas.  He played several sports in high school and graduated in 1993.

“At 6 ft. 6 in, Floyd emerged as a star football player, positioned as the tight end for Jack Yates’ high school team, and played in the 1992 state championship game in the Houston Astrodome,” writes Joanna Walters for The Guardian.  

He became a rapper associated with a hip hop group named Screwed Up Click–a dream come true for many young men.  He “freeestyled under the alias ‘Big Floyd’on mix tapes released by DJ Screw,” reports Wikipedia.  What a personality it took to succeed in that world!

He was known as “the gentle giant,” but in 2007, he made a wrong move or two.  In 2009 “he was sentenced to five years in prison for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon,” Wikipedia continues.

George was released in 2014 and moved to Minnesota, where some friends lived, to start a new life.  He succeeded there, working as a restaurant security guard in Minneapolis for five years.  Not everyone with a prison record gets and keeps a job and stays out of prison.

He was doing so well, but during the Covid-19 pandemic, his restaurant closed and he lost his job.  

Then on Monday, May 25, he allegedly went into a small grocery store and paid with a counterfeit $20 bill.  Did he know it was counterfeit?  Was he buying food?  Was he hungry?  The clerk called police.

At around 8 pm, four white officers pulled his car over and arrested him.  He appears cooperative in videos filmed by bystanders.  But soon he is on his stomach on the ground with his hands cuffed behind him. And one officer rams his knee into George’s neck, keeping it there for about 8 minutes.

“Please, please, I can’t breathe,” he says.

“He can’t breathe,” say the bystanders.  “Let up on him.”

“Maybe we should roll him onto his side,” suggests one of the three other police officers. But Derek Chauvin keeps his knee pressed firmly against his victim’s neck.

Soon George is unresponsive.  When they finally lift him onto a stretcher, his head rolls and hangs down from his lifeless body.

George Floyd was murdered, and his death-in-progress is now shown on every television screen in the nation and the world.

He leaves two daughters, one six years old and one 22 years old, both living in Houston.

Flowers to everyone who is suffering from the death of George Floyd:
I’m sorry for your loss.

He leaves a legacy:
tributes from friends, family, 
from singers and rappers, from Paris Jackson, 
from Beyonce, Lebron James, Whoopi Goldberg,
from ESPN personality Steven A. Smith, basketball player Steven Jackson,
from Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Cory Booker, and many others.

He also leaves protests around the USA including the burned-down 5th precinct police station in Minneapolis where these four officers were employed.

During this week, when the number of Covid-19 deaths in the USA passed 100,000, we thought things couldn’t get any worse.

But now Americans are grieving the death of George Floyd and many other African-Americans as well as our 100,000 victims to a virus:
Breonna Taylor, killed March 14 in her own bed, age 26, EMT, Louisville KY.
Ahmaud Arbery, killed Feb. 23 while jogging, age 25, Brunswick GA.
Philando Castile, killed July 6 2016, age 32, traffic stop, St. Anthony, Minnesota.
Sandra Bland, killed July 13 2015, age 28, traffic stop, Waller Co., TX.
Eric Garner, killed July 17 2014, age 43, selling cigarettes, Staten Island NY, “I can’t breathe.”
Michael Brown Jr., killed August 9 2014, age 18, Ferguson MO, “Hands up! Don’t shoot!”

And many others.  Black lives matter.

Thank you to Tiana Marquez for these beautiful flowers sent to me Wednesday.




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