Members of both George Floyd’s and Breonna Taylor’s families spoke out against violence this week.
Floyd died in Minneapolis on May 25 as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned the black man to the ground by keeping his knee on the victim’s neck for several minutes. Chauvin, a white male, has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Taylor, a black woman, died after three Louisville Metro Police officers forcibly entered her apartment and shot her at least eight times on March 13. They were plainclothes narcotics officers serving a “no-knock warrant,” according to CNN. Mayor Greg Fischer announced officers would wear body cameras going forward, while serving warrants and in other situations in which they identify themselves as police. It was later discovered, through police interviews, that police knocked multiple times. However, according to Taylor’s boyfriend, LMPD didn’t announce itself.
Fischer fired former Police Chief Steve Conrad after learning there was no body camera footage of a fatal shooting that occurred late Sunday night. David McAtee, the owner of a downtown barbecue establishment and a black man, was the victim.
In both situations in Louisville, police said they were fired at first — by Taylor’s boyfriend on March 13 and by an unknown assailant earlier this week. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, was charged with attempted murder of a police officer and first-degree assault, but those charges have since been dismissed. The FBI is investigating the incident.
There had been no charges stemming from the late Sunday night shooting as of Tuesday morning.
These three deaths are three of many reasons why anger has escalated, reaching a high mark unseen for a long time in this country.
Listen to the families of Floyd and Taylor.
They want justice and peace simultaneously.
“We can’t get justice with violence,” said Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother.
Terrence Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, told people in Minneapolis streets, “Do this peacefully, please. … If I’m not over here blowing up stuff, messing up my community, what are you all doing?”
As Terrence Floyd inferred, smashing windows of businesses and burning down buildings doesn’t bring George back. It only fuels the hatred that’s detrimental to communities of this country.
There are serious racism problems in the United States. There are police brutality problems, too.
There are good (insert any color) people who don’t have a racist bone in their bodies. There are good police officers who stick to their sworn duties.
What can fix hateful people? What can fix corrupt cops?
If only we knew the secret elixir.
There are only two directions we can go, as Leo Tolstoy inferred in his most famous work in 1869: War or peace.
Which will we choose? Even the victims’ families in these tragic instances are firmly pointing to the latter. But will we listen?