United for the Wrong Reason: The Horrifying Death of a Black American

ALPERN AT LARGE--It still stands to reason that those who WANT to divide the nation should be the ones we fear the most.

But on the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, it's virtually impossible to conclude that his death wasn't wrongful--if not downright murder. So, we're united, if not for the wrong reason. 

It shouldn't have happened. Police officers shouldn't be finding an excuse to kill anyone.

While no saint, and with a criminal record, George Floyd was harmless and no threat to the public when a police officer named Derek Chauvin kept his knee on his neck in a cold, cruel, and potentially calculated way to kill a six-foot-six so called "gentle giant" (LINK: https://www.ajc.com/news/victim-police-encounter-had-started-new-life-minnesota/rMmT2wipeQFNnsypmh6oBL/).

Being six-foot-six is no reason to be executed.

Being a counterfeiter is no reason to intentionally have one's carotid artery crushed to cause a prolonged lack of blood to the brain.

Being black may or may not have had any reason for this horrific incident but being out of work and desperate should not lead to a horrible death.

Being a police officer (Mr. Chauvin performed an illegal hold more akin to an execution than a police-sanctioned restraining technique, and Mr. Floyd was face down and handcuffed) does not give that officer the right to ignore the pleas of Mr. Floyd and those around him to desist...particularly when he knew he was being filmed.

Being a bully is no justification or qualification for being a police officer.

Being a police advocate is all the MORE reason to decry with outrage what happened to Mr. Floyd.

Being an advocate for law and order is all the MORE reason to support Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey's demands for immediate firing of the four officers (not only Mr. Chauvin, but the other three who could have intervened to control their colleague), but for criminal charges against Chauvin.

Being an advocate for civil rights is all the MORE reason to oppose those who are rioting both within and outside of Minnesota  because protests will help fix the problem, and because riots will only ensure that the horror of Mr. Floyd's death, which was virtually a public strangulation, will happen again.

Being an American who wants justice for all should give us cause for relief that both conservative and liberal news outlets are all decrying Mr. Chauvin's actions, and prayer that police agencies throughout the nation will distance themselves from Mr. Chauvin and declare him a viable and reasonably-concluded suspect for murder.

Being united in our watching the video (LINK: https://www.foxnews.com/media/dan-bongino-video-george-floyd-arrest-disturbing), and wishing we could be there to scream at the officer, and to maybe even risk our lives by knocking Mr. Chauvin off the restrained and dying victim below the officer's cruel and life-ending knee, is perhaps a good thing.

But without distracting about rioters, and black-on-black crime, and taking a knee at football games, the bottom line a callous, bully-boy thug with a uniform (a uniform that is supposed to represent the authority and trust of the people to do the right thing) summarily executed a restrained suspect with an illegal technique. 

From the president on down, efforts are under way to expedite the investigation and subsequent action surrounding this horrifying incident. No one, riots or not, is opposing that.

So, we're united on that...but there's no relief in the knowledge that we're united.

Because this never, ever, should have happened.


(CityWatch Columnist, Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D, is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He was (termed out) also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Outreach Committee, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee and Vice-Chair of its Planning Committee. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition and can be reached at Ken.Alpern@MarVista.org. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)