The death of George Floyd has been hijacked by anarchists and those in the pursuit of political expediency.
The news of George Floyd's death, from across the Atlantic, has spread like wildfire around the world. A video - now considered the star witness - appearing to show the brutality of the police involved in his arrest, has sparked outrage from all corners. News also emerged that one police officer involved in the arrest had forced his knee against Mr Floyd's neck, leading to asphyxiation. Bystanders, including other police officers, either stood by and watched, filmed what was going on or simply walked by.
Like others, I was shocked to learn of the circumstances of the arrest. Let me also say this: there is no excuse for excessive force by the police. The police are as much accountable for their actions as anyone else. Justice is for all and those seeking it should never use unjust means to do so.
Whilst the family grieve for the loss of George Floyd, however, there are groups, including those on the far left, who are simultaneously plotting and scheming to hijack the circumstances of his death for purposes of political expediency. They have produced a narrative that, at first sight, seems plausible. They say that George Floyd is a victim not only of police brutality, but also of systemic racism. Police officers, they claim, are deliberate in their brutality and collectively conspire against their duty to serve and protect in order to intentionally take the lives of Black Americans on the very same streets they are tasked with keeping safe. Political activist and commentator Candance Owens very succinctly and passionately exposes this notion of deliberate police brutality towards African Americans by citing the statistics around fatal killings at the hands of the police. Last year, there were more fatal killings of white Americans than African Americans by the police (but the facts, she says, just don't fit the far left narrative).
They revel in hyperbole. Their narrative fuels anger and extinguishes any semblance of hope for those who are looking for instant answers, intentionally directing them towards becoming despairingly violent. They insist that Black Lives Matter whilst also abusing, attacking, and even killing those who challenge the deliberate divisiveness and over-simplicity of their slogan.
Much of this has been captured on social media. Video clips abound on twitter showing their thuggish recruits forming gang-like mobs; they riot, they loot, they kick and punch. Even as their victims lay unconscious, they refuse to relent in their brutality. The world watches as their hypocrisy plays out for all to see.
But not only has George Floyd's memory been deliberately hijacked by certain groups, including those on the far left, so too has his death been elevated to martyrdom-like status. I iterate: there is no excuse for excessive force by the police. But let me add, by repeating the words of the British police officer who subtly rebutted a girl-turned-activist caught confrontationally shouting "black lives matter" as he passed, All Lives Matter. Incidentally, her response after this exchange - the dialogue chosen as the title of this post - was to refute the view that all life is equally important and, in an apparent attempt to have the last word, shouted after him, "thugs!".
I am certainly not concluding that all those protesting under the Black Lives Matter banner are rioters and looters. Their reasons for demonstrating are clearly nuanced and steeped in philosophy, and cannot simply be brushed aside. But I also do not believe for one moment that all those who are protesting are doing so with a full and comprehensive understanding about why they are there. For this, I blame those who human rights activist Malcom X referred to as the 'white, liberal fox'.
There are groups, including elements of the far left, who are employing deceitful and hypocritical means to gain power through the subversion of democracy. They hunger for power and they will do anything for it, including exploiting the fears and anger of those they have always and continue to claim to represent. They are, as Donald Trump suggests, anarchists. They do not care about you; they will always seek to exploit your greatest fears, your deepest concerns and your most potent vulnerabilities.
The death of George Floyd is not, therefore, an issue of black or white, African American or white American. It is an issue of justice for the individual. It is an issue of right and wrong. My hope is that his family will find peace and that justice is served.