It has not even been a year since the tragic police murder of George Floyd, that another victim of police brutality, Daunte Wright, a 20 years old Black American, was shot dead by a police officer by the name of Kimberley Ann Potter on the 11th of April, 2021.
Bodycam footage of the incident shows the police struggling with Wright as the latter attempted to get back into his vehicle after the police stopped him, and then the officer shooting him in close range. It’s a devastating video that shows a complete lack of judgment from the police, coupled with racist attitudes that led to the murder of Floyd last year.
While it is heartbreaking and infuriating that nothing has changed after a whole year of demonstrations and protests to push for the defunding of the police, this incident has led to a worsening of riots aimed at police headquarters, as a symbol of public outrage at the way the system works to repress, and murder, black people.
Black people are indiscriminately targeted by the police in the US and often killed with impunity for doing tasks as trivial and harmless as going for a walk or playing with a toy gun or going to the grocery store to buy a pack of cigarettes. This owes itself to the historic racism that the black population has been subjected to – starting from harassment, disenfranchisement, marginalization, stereotypes, and even, as the reality suggests – wanton murder.
Various cities across America have erupted in rage once again, coming out into the streets in large numbers to protest against the injustice of racist attitudes which they have to endure every day. However, even during these protests, the US government tries to paint them as unruly vandals who burn down shops and engage in public disruption for the sake of ensuring their goals. In truth, however, the riots stand for something much larger than unrelated incidents of civic disruption. These are the results of a historical subjugation that has reduced black people to non-humans, or at best, to products and cultures that can be appropriated with a total disregard of the sentiment of the people who embody the same culture.
Derek Chauvin, the police officer who had stepped on Floyd’s neck and suffocated him to death last year, has recently been found guilty by the Supreme Court for second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter, and third-degree murder. As he languishes in the public memory of millions of bitter Americans, we have to remember that it is easy to escape blame by clamoring for symbolic reformation – at the very core of things, we’re merely participating in the repression of black people, and with every disgusting incident of police brutality, we’re mourning for the dead and leaving things at that. We have to do at this stage push for a complete restructuring of the system – defund the police, and empower the disadvantaged instead.
Like Malcolm X once said, “Time is on the side of the oppressed today; it’s against the oppressor. Truth is on the side of the oppressed today, and it’s against the oppressor. You don’t need anything else.”