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How do we think about the George Floyd murder? Show more Show less
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On May 25 2020, George Floyd was suffocated to death by the police. Floyd had been arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill. In chilling footage that would go viral within 24 hours, officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than 8 minutes ignoring Floyd's repeated pleas for him to move. The asphyxiation led to his cardiac arrest. Floyd's death has so far inspired protests across more than 75 US cities, calling for an end to police brutality and institutional racism. The responses to these riots have included state-wide curfews, the threat of military intervention, attacks on the media and civilian arrests. The situation has given rise to a complex debate with commentators arguing over what precisely it has exposed about contemporary America. So, who are these groups, what do they stand for, and why?

Our freedom is at stake: the murder exposes a crisis of civil liberties Show more Show less

This approach believes that this crisis hinges on the relationship between the state and the individual. It focuses on police brutality and state-sanctioned violence against innocent citizens.
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The George Floyd debate is really about the right to life

The state has failed to protect our most fundamental freedom: the right to life. This crisis has unfolded as a last resort, after decades in which the right to life can no longer be guaranteed by the law. In fact, it is often those meant to uphold it that who threaten it most. Proponents include the New York Times Editorial board.

The Argument

The case of George Floyd goes beyond the American Constitution as it defies the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which outlines that each and every person has the right to life. Whilst Floyd had a criminal past this does not make him any less human and does not nullify his right to life. Allyson McKinney Timm writes of the inhumane cruel murder describing it as a “mournful window into America’s shameful human rights crisis.” [1] Regardless of the suspicion cast upon him, George Floyd’s status as a human being demands that he be treated as such. The violence exercised under governmental instruction during BLM protests only fuels the view that the government of the United States of America is one plagued by systemic racism. As Andrea Jenkins states, “This is about the violation of human rights.” [1] If the police are allowed to act with reckless abandon as they did in this case then we run the risk of a power tripped police force who care little for those whom they are supposed to serve and protect.

Counter arguments

The issue surrounding George Floyd’s moreso concerns racism than the right to life. Whilst it could be argued that the two are often intertwined, the prejudice suffered by the black community in America does not always result in death. A common denominator in the innumerable cases of injustices against black people, that are as prevalent as ever, is that there is a racial prejudice against them – a prejudice that is engendered in the police force. A revaluation of the attitudes held by much of the police force as well as society as a whole is needed. Ultimately, George Floyd’s murder was of course a violation of the right to life. However, it goes beyond murder as it reflects the fact that there is still a prevalent level of racism within the police force.



Rejecting the premises




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This page was last edited on Monday, 28 Sep 2020 at 15:30 UTC

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