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< Back to question How do we think about the George Floyd murder? Show more Show less

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 police are encouraging violence to undermine protestors

Ruthless police behavior during these riots is symptomatic of the broader issue. Across the nation, they have actively encouraged peaceful protestors to turn to violence by firing rubber bullets, unleashing tear gas, and threatening the unarmed with physical altercations. This is a deliberate effort to undermine the calls of the protestors for an end to institutional racism.
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The Argument

On May 26th, 2020, protests began to occur in every major city in the United States, following the death of George Floyd. Though the majority of these protests were peaceful, many incidents of police violence took place between protestors and the police. Videos of the police violence that occurred during protests have spread across social media, providing proof of violent incidents involving police. Hundreds of videos involving police violence against journalists have surfaced as well. Videos show protesters met with pepper spray, rubber bullets, tear gas, and batons, as well as physical assault by police officers.[1] The US guarantees the right to freedom of speech and the right to protest. The violence police officers have inflicted against peaceful protestors undermines the protestors and their civil rights. Though some argue the police have used these tactics to protect themselves, disturbing videos have shown that the use of these tactics without provocation by protestors. Instead, its use incites fear and gains control over protesters. New York City has seen many of these incidents, including an instance that happened on May 30th, 2020, when police officers drove through a crowd of Brooklyn protestors, knocking many to the ground. [2] Women and elderly protestors were victims of this heinous violence as well, infringing on their rights to peaceful protests and freedom of speech. Protesters are reacting proportionally to their treatment by police. The police and critics of the protest are bending the narrative, demonizing the protesters.

Counter arguments

Police officers often use crowd-control methods to ensure the safety of the protestors. Tactics such as tear gas, rubber bullets, and pepper spray are used in extreme cases to avoid violence from escalating among protestors and business owners during riots. In most cases, the use of these tactics is for self-defense against aggressive protestors. Many police officers are civil to protestors, engaging in conversation about the protests, and providing food and water for those who are in need. The media is skewed in it's portrayal of the behavior of police officers during protests, and the videos that surface the internet are taken out of context. There are many videos of police officers demonstrating solidarity with the protesters, and ven marching with them. If the media cared about representing these protests honestly, it would include these moments of humanity in the reporting and not just the violence.


Rejecting the premises



This page was last edited on Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 11:47 UTC

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