The humanity and Courage of Darnella Frazier, who filmed the death of George Floyd – I can’t breathe.
Today, I want to take some time off my usual blog posts to talk about something that happened last night. It’s actually something that we’ve followed in the past several months.
Last night, the Minnesota jury found Derek Chauvin, 45, the police officer involved in the death of George Floyd, guilty of all three charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He could face up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, up to 25 years for third-degree murder, and up to 10 years for second-degree manslaughter; that’s a total of 75 years in prison.
I wouldn’t however join the people who say that “justice has been done or served.” There are two sides to Justice: one is that the offender gets an adequate punishment for the offence he caused; the other is that the offended get appeased for the offence he suffered. And this second component of justice is grossly missing here.
I’m not in any way advocating for the death of Mr Derek Chauvin; I just wish to point out that justice would have been arresting George Floyd and treating him as human, not as a beast. Justice would be bringing Mr George Floyd back to life – obviously, no one can do that. I feel terribly sad that another human could be so void of humanity as to take the life of another unperturbed – a life he didn’t give, a life he has no right to take.
While we all feel a sigh of relief for the verdict of the jury, it doesn’t take away the pain in the heart of the family members and the fact that his little daughter is going to grow up fatherless watching the images of the gruesome murder of his father.
It’s heartbreaking to watch Derek Chauvin receive a fair trial in the designated place while thinking that George Floyd wasn’t given a chance at all but was rather tried on the streets and killed with a knee to his neck despite continuously echoing these riveting words “I CAN’T BREATHE.”
While we all talk about the murder in “full light of day,” I want to highlight something that I found absolutely amazing – the courage of Darnella Frazier, a 17-year-old lady (at the time) who recorded the horrible, excruciating last minutes of George Floyd on the surface of the earth. That video record was vital in this trial.
Initially, after the demise of George Floyd, the Minneapolis Police Department had put out the following statement, on May 25, 2020:
“On Monday evening, shortly after 8:00 p.m., officers from the Minneapolis Police Department responded to the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South on a report of a forgery in progress. Officers were advised that the suspect was sitting on top of a blue car and appeared to be under the influence.
“Two officers arrived and located the suspect, a male believed to be in his 40s, in his car. He was ordered to step from his car. After he got out, he physically resisted officers. Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later.”
“At no time were weapons of any type used by anyone involved in this incident. The Minneapolis Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has been called in to investigate this incident at the request of the Minneapolis Police Department.
“No officers were injured in the incident. Body worn cameras were on and activated during this incident.” This statement has since been taken down from the website of the police department.
This simply means that were it not for the video recording of the incident by Miss Darnella Frazier and the testimonies of other bystanders, this case wouldn’t have passed the tears and wailings of Mr George Floyd’s family. No one would have known about this as it would have been classified as one of those deaths caused by underlying medical conditions, forgery, driving under the influence of drugs and resisting arrest.
No one, not his daughter, not his family members and certainly not George Floyd would have received justice. It’s amazing how little acts of courage could alter the narrative of events and give a true picture of what truly transpired.
Just like what we witnessed a few months ago in Nigeria. Maltreatment at the hand of law enforcement agencies in Nigeria is rampant and cases of police brutality, bribe, rape, torture and murder at the hands of these devilish men are open secrets. But the spontaneous protests by the youths of Nigeria brought it to the knowledge of international media because of what we now sadly know as the deadly Lekki Massacre, that took place on the 20th of October, 2020, when innocent unarmed END SARS protesters were shot at by members of the Nigerian army.
Despite journalistic investigations and video evidence that chronicled such crime against humanity, we are yet to see the perpetrators of such heinous act brought to book. Blames keep being tossed from one table to another. But we shall win. Evil will not always triumph. Darkness will not always hold sway.
Let’s talk about the humanity and courage of this young lady; let’s have the courage to be the voice of the voiceless, the helper to the helpless, the defence of the defenceless and be unapologetic in demanding for what rightful belongs to us, humans. It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, if you live in the USA or Nigeria; for injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.
We should never forget those words “I CAN’T BREATHE” because many people around us are saying the same thing, but many of us lack the humanity and courage of Darnella Frazier to listen and help out.