George Floyd Murder – Emancipation Support Committee Trinidad and Tobago calls for justice; renewed fight against racism



Posted on June 3, 2020 at 11:02 pm by ESC


The Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad and Tobago  extends its condolences to the family and friends of Mr. George Floyd and members of the Minnesota community in which he lived. We express our outrage at the cold-blooded way in which the 46 year old was murdered by  four  white police men in the state of Minnesota, yet another police murder of an unarmed African American. We stand in solidarity with our African-American brothers and sisters in North America and other Americans who have aligned themselves with their cause. They are  now risking their lives to  demand that all the policemen involved in the murder of Mr Floyd  be charged and prosecuted, to demand the arrests and prosecution of other police officers involved in  extrajudicial  killings of unarmed African-Americans and other persons of colour. Beyond that they are demanding an end to the systemic racism which disadvantages all peoples of colour in the United States.

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In the midst of this expression of pain and soul searching we condemn the callous, racist incitement of President Trump for the US police and military to brutalize and criminalize Americans for standing up for justice.

The pain which has been unleashed by Mr. Floyd’s  murder is palpable.  Millions witnessed the tragedy of Brother Floyd,  calling out for his mother and his children, gasping for air, while a person who is supposed to protect him  kneels on his neck for a full nine minutes until his last breath is snuffed out. As autopsies have shown, two other officers were crushing his lungs and (spinal chord) while they had him pinned to the roadway. His murder is also painful because its live broadcast made visible the daily experience of racism, white privilege, dehumanisation and bigotry to which persons of African descent and other persons of colour, are routinely subjected in North America. Sadly it is not a new phenomenon. America’s history is one carved out of violence against the indigenous peoples,  violence against African American communities, families, children and young women and men, against other minorities, violence which has continued from enslavement through the Jim crow era and into the period of the fight for civil rights.   May 31 marked the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race riots, during which a white mob burned to the ground an African American well-to-do community, and killed some 200 to 300  persons

It is inconceivable that up to now in the 21st century murderous acts can be blatantly committed by agents of the State, without the perpetrators  being brough to justice.

Authorities at high levels  have been hiding behind the language of ‘war on drugs’ and ‘war on crime’ to continue the murder, mass incarceration,  dis-enfranchisement and denial of the human rights of persons of African descent in North America over the last three to five decades. A Rutgers study on  fatality risks during police encounters, using data collected between 2013 and 2017, found that  African Americans were  killed by police more than twice as often as the general population. While only about 12 percent of the American population is of African descent, 28 percent of people killed by police during the period of the study were persons of African descent.  The study concluded that “it was not a case of bad apples, but bad policing and bad laws that allowed for the excessive use of force” with impunity. It also  noted the police killings of black men, women and children that brought national attention to the racialized character of police violence against civilians and led to protests, citing examples of men like Michael Brown and  Eric Garner, boys like 14 year old Tamir Rice and women like Breonna Taylor, the 26 year old killed in her own home in Louisville, on  March 13,  2020.

 Recently in the state of Georgia, a young African American male was murdered while jogging by  white civilians. For two months their stories of how the murder occurred went unquestioned by the authorities  until they were emboldened by the impunity which white privilege gave them and shared  their video of the hunt of young Ahmad Arberry.  Loud  voices have been  raised demanding  justice.

The murders have caused the Office of the  United Nations Chief of Human Rights Commission, Ms Michelle Bacholet, to issue a statement which in part noted, “The US authorities must take serious action to stop such killings, and to ensure justice is done when they do occur. Procedures must change, prevention systems must be put in place, and above all police officers who resort to excessive use of force should be charged and convicted for the crimes committed,” she said. “The role that entrenched and pervasive racial discrimination plays in such deaths must also be fully examined, properly recognized and dealt with.”

Fierce calls for justice have been made by persons of African descent and persons of conscience globally. The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, His Excellency Moussa Faki Mahamat. issued a statement. While expressing his deep condolences to the family and loved ones of Mr George Floyd, he  “condemned the murder that occurred in the United States of America at the hands of law enforcement officers”. In  recalling the historic Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) Resolution on Racial Discrimination in the United States of America made by African Heads of State and Government, at the OAU’s First Assembly Meeting held in Cairo, Egypt from 17 to 24 July 1964, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission “firmly reaffirms and reiterates the African Union’s rejection of the continuing discriminatory practices against Black citizens of the United States of America.” He further urged the authorities in the United States of America to “intensify their efforts to ensure the total elimination of all forms of discrimination based on race or ethnic origin.”

The ESCTT stands in solidarity with these voices, the many voices of our brothers and sisters in North America and the Diaspora, the voices of  many individuals and organizations in our country, the Caribbean region and all voices of conscience around the world. We add our voice to the  universal demand for justice in the case of Mr. Floyd George and call for the Government of the United States of America, despite the foolhardiness of its current President, to listen to the cries of Americans of conscience for Justice. It is time for a sustained effort to eliminate the deadly cancer of racism that is so deeply rooted in the culture and institutions of American society.  

 As we face these recurring challenges we are reminded of the words of our Caribbean scholar and revolutionary thinker  Frantz Fanon when he said,

“We revolt simply because for many reasons, we can no longer breathe”.

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