On Monday 25 May, 46-year-old African-American George Floyd died in custody after an officer from the Minneapolis Police Department stood on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, according to court documents shared by The New York Times – in spite of the fact that Floyd repeatedly cried out that he could no longer breathe. Floyd had allegedly been trying to purchase groceries with a fake $20 bill, leading an employee of the nearby Cup Foods store to report a “forgery in process”.
When bystanders shared graphic footage of the incident captured on their phones, it triggered widespread outrage – giving rise to mass protests across the US in cities ranging from Atlanta to Dallas. While the state has now charged Derek Chauvin, who restrained Floyd, with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, the three other officers on the scene have yet to be charged. All four have been terminated from the Minneapolis Police Department.
Celebrities have flocked to social media to demand justice for George Floyd and his family. “For the last few days, the magnitude of devastation, anger, [and] sadness I’ve felt has been overwhelming to say the least,” Rihanna wrote on Instagram on 29 May. “Watching my people get murdered and lynched day after day pushed me to a heavy place in my heart… If intentional murder is the fit consequence for ‘drugs’ or ‘resisting arrest’, then what’s the fit consequence for murder?”
Meanwhile, Beyoncé recorded a dedicated video on the subject, encouraging her followers to sign petitions calling for justice via Change.org, Color of Change, We Can’t Breathe, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). “We all witnessed his murder in broad daylight,” she says in the clip. “We’re broken and we’re disgusted. We cannot normalise this pain. I’m not only speaking to people of colour. If you’re white, black, brown, or anything in between, I’m sure you feel hopeless about the racism going on in America right now.”
Below, more powerful messages from celebrities around the world.
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For the last few days, the magnitude of devastation, anger, sadness I’ve felt has been overwhelming to say the least! Watching my people get murdered and lynched day after day pushed me to a heavy place in my heart! To the point of staying away from socials, just to avoid hearing the blood curdling agony in George Floyd’s voice again, begging over and over for his life!!! The look of enticement, the pure joy and climax on the face of this bigot, murderer, thug, pig, bum, Derek Chauvin, haunts me!! I can’t shake this! I can’t get over an ambulance pulling up to an arrest, a paramedic checking a pulse without removing the very thing that’s hindering it! Is this that fucking normal??? If intentional MURDER is the fit consequence for “drugs” or “resisting arrest”….then what’s the fit consequence for MURDER???! #GeorgeFloyd #AhmaudArbery #BreonnaTaylor
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Enraged. Sickened. Heartbroken. But never surprised. This happens way too often – and the videos that go viral are not isolated events. It seems that only when caught on camera are bigots & MURDERERS even getting “investigated” or fired .. unfortunately, the only way things will start changing is if all these racist, ignorant, monsters (badge &/or not) have to face the consequences- behind bars. && it’s not only an issue with black men being killed by cops … it’s an issue every time we see them being treated, in even non-violent situations, VERY CLEARLY differently than many very-high-risk incidents involving white men; it’s an issue that the President is making dangerous public statements about enforcing the shooting of protesters -rightfully angered by another UNNEEDED KILLING of another black person & DEMANDING JUSTICE WHERE IT IS 100% NEEDED- while exactly 28 days earlier, he tweeted about white protesters, who stood ARMED WITH GUNS protesting a WORLDWIDE HEALTH PANDEMIC as “very good people” urging the Governor to “See them, talk to them, make a deal.” ?????????? This is, too, an issue about the “Karen’s” we see filmed weekly- using someone’s race, as a point to try and push their agenda, while calling the police in situations where their lives are clearly not actually in danger at all….. they’re just plain f***ing racist. EVERY. TIME. feels more disheartening and nauseating because our cries for the Government and Americans to do better seem unheard; but even when we feel like what we do isn’t enough or can’t help, we have to do more. Keep signing petitions, making calls to demand justice, speaking out (this is not just if you have a big platform- it starts in your homes and communities), and fighting to make a difference for every life that has been wrongly taken or effected by THE PANDEMIC OF RACISM. THIS IS ABOUT BEING AGAINST EVERY SENSELESS ACT OF DISCRIMINATION THAT BURDENS THIS COUNTRY.