“I Can’t Breathe”


(Photo courtesy Lee Harvey, Sky Sports NBA): People march for justice for George Floyd during a Black Lives Matter protest.

Reggie Pierre, Reporter

Can you imagine losing your life over a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill? Can you picture yourself begging to breathe while a man’s knee is on your neck for nine minutes? Well, George Floyd felt these emotions in his last moments of living. The killing of a black man named George Floyd set off the nation in rage over the deadly use of force used by the now former police officer named Derek Chauvin. This unfortunate death caused protests all over the country for months during the grueling pandemic. The homicide trial of the officer accused of killing Floyd, Chauvin, which began in Minneapolis on March 29, is focused on a more discrete question. Did Chauvin intentionally kill Floyd?

Americans have witnessed countless unreasonable black deaths in the last decade due to aggressive police force. But what they have yet seen is a white police officer actually held accountable for his actions. Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a human rights movement, originating in the African-American community, that campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards black individuals. During the Floyd protests last year, BLM counterparts have come up with their own slogans representing their stance on police brutality. Some police officers and their supporters have come up with their own movement named “Blue Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter.” The lack of understanding and empathy as well as existence of racism towards the black community have caused these new movements to emerge. 

Some STAC students discussed their opinions regarding the wrongful killings of Breonna Taylor and Floyd in the last year. Their identities are kept anonymous.

During these unprecedented times my parents held a severe conversation with me about police officers. And their brutal force towards black men and women who look like me. I didn’t know times would’ve come to this, where a cop kills a man with his knee,” one STAC student said.

“I know Derek Chauvin was wrong for holding his knee on George Floyd’s neck for so long, but it was an unintentional accident and I truly believe that,” another STAC student said, “Many people say to defund the police but how can we defund them when we need them to protect and serve our country?” She then went on to explain the long undeniable history between black individuals and police brutality.

It’s no secret that everyone across the nation has their own opinions on whether the police need to be defunded due to incidents of excessive force. Or if the black community do in fact deserve to be treated as they are when it comes to the law enforcement. But facts are facts: black Americans are disproportionately affected by police violence across the United States. Black Americans account for less than 13 percent of the U.S. population but the rate at which they are shot and killed by police is more than twice as high as the rate for white Americans. The black community is very tired and wants big changes from America. It seems as if this doesn’t happen soon, things are just going to continue to heat up.