Can We Finally Stop Pretending that George Floyd’s Death Had Anything to Do with Racism?

The lie that George Floyd was murdered by racist police officers in Minneapolis has made its way around the world several times over, leaving countless violent riots and more than $2 billion in property damages in its wake, but it seems that the truth is finally putting on its shoes.

In June of 2020, 60 percent of surveyed adults deemed George Floyd’s death to be murder at the hands of police officer Derek Chauvin.  As of last month, a little more than a third of Americans believe that. 

That’s a stunning near-reversal of public opinion.  How did that happen?

The answer to the practical question as to what role the accused Derek Chauvin had in Floyd’s death will ultimately be determined by the courts in his ongoing trial, as it should be.  Unfortunately, that question is of far less societal importance than the larger question looming around George Floyd’s death.  It is a question that is rarely ever asked, and for which there is no such codified structure for honest investigation and judgment outside of today’s kangaroo court of public opinion overseen by politicians, celebrities, and the media.

That question is: What role, if any, did racism play in George Floyd’s death?

It has been taken for granted since the first video of Floyd’s arrest emerged that George Floyd was a victim of racial injustice.  It was, according to the president of Axios, Cliff Young, an “acute crisis” that brought “racial justice to the forefront.” 

The notion that Floyd’s death was a “racial reckoning” advanced, seemingly without opposition in the summer of 2020, with few stopping to ask what evidence exists to support the narrative.  Rather than asking that question, millions mindlessly submitted to the explanation of systemic racism that was offered by Black Lives Matter, a well-funded organization that openly employs racial grievance as a substitute for Marxist class warfare, and which was supported by radical leftist politicians, celebrities, media outlets, and American corporate giants, all of whom later became apologists for, and, in some cases, accomplices to, the legions of arsonists, thieves, and violent criminals taking part in last year’s unprecedentedly destructive riots.

It was easy for the aforementioned parties to stimulate Americans’ imaginations toward understanding Floyd’s death as a result of racism.  The initial videos taken by onlookers captured only the final moments of the confrontation between Floyd and the arresting officers, but given that little was known about the events leading up to those moments and that myriad relevant facts hadn’t yet been reported, the public accepted the story that white racist cops had racially profiled George Floyd, and, without sufficient provocation, used an unconventional restraining tactic that strangled the life out of him as he begged for an opportunity to breathe.

That narrative is, and always has been, pure nonsense. 

The four officers involved, not all of whom were white, only engaged Floyd in response to a reported crime, and not while proactively patrolling the community.  Racial profiling had nothing at all to do with this encounter.

The neck restraint used to immobilize George Floyd was not, in fact, a peculiar means of torture devised by Derek Chauvin to choke the life out of a minority, but a legal method of restraining suspects which was sanctioned by the Minneapolis Police Department, and which was only made obsolete after Floyd’s death. 

And, despite the media’s curious lack of focus on this important fact, we also discovered very early on that George Floyd had a “fatal level of fentanyl” in his blood at the time of his death.  “If Mr. Floyd had been found dead in his home with no other contributing factors,” chief medical examiner Dr. Andrew Baker said last June, he would “conclude that it was an overdose death.”

But perhaps more than anything else, the body cam footage released last summer should have disabused any reasonable person of the notion that racism had anything to do with this incident.  In a concise and apt appraisal of the revelations to be seen in the released body cam footage, former ESPN sports writer Jason Whitlock wrote:

Here are the key takeaways from the footage:

  • Floyd’s behavior escalated a routine arrest into a possible abuse of force.
  • The George Floyd case is not a race crime.  No rational person can watch that footage and conclude the police were motivated by Floyd’s black race.
  • It’s going to be virtually impossible to convict former officers Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao of any crime.
  • It will be equally difficult to convict Chauvin of murder. [emphasis added]

To be perfectly clear, there has never been even a single shred of evidence that the officers involved in George Floyd’s arrest were motivated by Floyd’s race.  The released body cam footage simply made the absence of such evidence clearer.  But nothing, it appears, could have stopped this carefully crafted and ambitious falsehood that both spawned and justified the blind fury that became manifest in the Black Lives Matter riots of 2020. 

Today, large swathes of the American public have come to understand the aforementioned facts, despite the best efforts of the media to hide them.  Hence, far fewer Americans believe that George Floyd was the victim of murder today than last summer, while more believe that Chauvin may have been guilty of negligent behavior in exercising his duties, and more still now claim to not know what happened at all. 

In our judicial system, and as it should be, the moral space between the crimes of murder and negligence is a vast chasm.  But the sad truth is that lawful adjudication for Derek Chauvin in court, where facts and evidence matter in shaping conclusions, will not matter to the millions of woke fanatics that have already concluded, without any consideration to facts or evidence, that George Floyd was murdered by racist cops.  If Derek Chauvin isn’t convicted of murder, and the woke mobs don’t get their desired vengeance through the justice system for the race crime they imagine to have happened, we all know that we can expect more arson, thievery, and violence against innocent people and their property in countless American cities.

And perhaps saddest of all, we can expect that radical leftist politicians, celebrities, the media, and woke corporations will continue to be complicit in the promotion of that deadly and destructive lie, and will continue to placate the rioters committing these horrible atrocities by defending their actions as justifiable outrage.

Powerful forces are allied against the truth, and are actively seeking to silence anyone espousing it.  But the truth remains, and while it may sometimes be slow to take hold amidst a moral panic like this one, it is relentless.  The truth matters, and the truth is that George Floyd’s death, while unfortunate, has precisely nothing to do with racism in America.  And anytime we hear others suggest that it does, we have a responsibility, however uncomfortable or impolite it may seem for us, to demand that they defend their wholly unsubstantiated belief with facts rather than emotional hearsay, however futile that may be for them. 

Image: Daniel Arauz, via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

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