Our National Portrait

Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, casually kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, resulting in Floyd’s death, Memorial Day, 2020. (Screenshot)

The collapse of empire is a guarantee that official violence will spread outward to batter all groups — except the coddled wealthy few.

By Mark L. Taylor
The Commoner Call (5/28/20)

The above screen shot image is from the now famous Memorial Day video of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, literally kneeing the life out of George Floyd, 46, after being taken into custody for possible use of a fake $20 bill. This image summarizes so much about the nature of the United States and it’s historic genocidal relationship toward minorities, especially African American men. Since the ubiquity of cell phones we have seen so many similar videos of police execution of black men and some women. The causal, reflexive police violence and the cruelty with which it is administered is always a shock to the senses. There is a kind of disbelief that this can really be happening, and yet it does — despite the likelihood of video documentation — over and over, without pause, or twinge of genuine national conscience.

A reflection of us

The ten-minute long video of the hand-cuffed and subdued Floyd having the life literally and methodically squeezed out of him by Chauvin’s knee-hold is as ugly as it is emblematic of the nation’s genocidal instincts. I have lightened the exposure of this screenshot a little so you can more clearly see the terrified, disbelieving and anguished expression on Floyd’s face. We need to see that expression. It is a reflection of us.

The other face — Chauvin’s — is the perfect cold expression of “F-You” entitled arrogance, as if to say, “I can — and will –do whatever I please.”

It is the face of the CIA tortuerer or the war criminal infantryman or the abusive prison guard or the ICE agent separating a toddler from her mother or — frankly — most members of congress.

Throughout history, as empires collapse — and our certainly is — the weapons and techniques of subjugation of vassal states is brought home to subdue the restless discontent of the citizens bled dry for empire by the corrupt, autocratic ruling class. That is what is happening now, here in the United States.

While most whites have had a certain level of insulation from the kind of lethal brutality that killed George Floyd, or Ahmaud Aubrey in Georgia or Breonna Taylor in Kentucky or Eric Garner in New York or Michael Brown in Missouri or Trayvon Martin in Florida or Freddie Gray in Baltimore or Laquan McDonald in Illinois or … whoever’s name will show up disabled or dead by police violence next week, the collapse of empire is a guarantee that official violence will spread outward to batter all groups — except the coddled wealthy few.

As many in the middle class will be thrown onto the streets by the mismanaged financial chaos of the pandemic, and the day-to-day struggle of the working poor becomes a scramble for mere survival, we will all be seeing the face of Officer Chauvin and will have — finally, for we whites — some level of identification and empathy with the face of George Floyd. His face will become ours. We will finally find our brotherhood in shared state terror.

Ugly as it is, this is our national portrait.

  • Minneapolis Officers Who Killed George Floyd Had Histories Of Shootings & Excessive Force — Thousands of protesters took to the streets on the south side of Minneapolis Tuesday following the police killing of unarmed African American George Floyd, which was captured on video. Protesters gathered at the location of Floyd’s killing and marched to the Minneapolis police department’s 3rd Precinct, where protesters believed the officers who killed Floyd worked. The protesters held signs that read “I can’t breathe” and “Justice for George.” Outside the precinct building, Minneapolis police in riot gear shot tear gas, flash-bang grenades, and rubber bullets into crowds of protesters, hitting journalists as well. Some of the projectiles hit protesters in the head, causing serious injury. Minneapolis City Council member Jeremiah Ellison called the police response “disgusting.” … Read The Rest


George Floyd Was Robbed Of His Breathe. We Must Fight Police Violence Until Our Last Breath

By Derecka Purnell
The Guardian (5/27/20)

White police officer Derek Chauvin pinned George Floyd to the concrete as he hollered that he could not breathe. George screamed. Screamed for his mother. Screamed for his breath. For his life.

For many watching the footage, George’s cries echoed Eric Garner’s “I can’t breathe.” New York police department officer Daniel Pantaleo killed Garner a couple of weeks before a Ferguson police officer killed Michael Brown. George’s plea reminds me of another black man shot by police: Eric Harris. In 2015, Tulsa reserve deputy Robert Bates told Harris “fuck your breath”. That same year, Fairfax county law enforcement tased Natasha McKenna four times while she sought help during a mental health crisis. As they were brutalizing her, she said, “You promised you wouldn’t kill me.” For me, the image of the white officer kneeling into George’s back reminds me most of Freddie Gray. Baltimore police severed Gray’s spine through an intentional rough ride in the back of a police van.

The Minnesota police department that killed George Floyd has been violent and racist since its inception. Can we really have faith in reform?

George, like Dreasjon ReedBreonna Taylor and other black people killed by police this year, should be alive and breathing. This cycle – murder, protest, calls for justice, non-indictments – is revelatory. We must join others to reduce police power before, during and after these viral killings. Police reform is not enough. We need abolition.

In recent years, news stories broke about how Immigrations and Customs Enforcement use raids, detentions and deportations to threaten immigrants in the US. Calls to “Abolish Ice” could be heard from the streets to the halls of Congress. Ironically, there were no calls to have more Latino and black Ice agents. Mayors did not call for community-driven deportation or raids, like we see for community policing. Non-profits did not call to strengthen relationships between border patrol and immigrants; cities did not fund Ice and ice-cream trucks to pass out treats to immigrant children. Liberals did not point out that there were good apples and bad apples in border patrol enforcement. These programs cannot reform Ice, nor can they reform police.

If we can understand that the calls to abolish Ice actually means that this country needs a new, transformational immigration system, then why dismiss police abolition as a viable option for a transformative society? …

Read The Rest

  • Murder, Again — Eric Garner et al, ad nauseum. After Minneapolis police responded to “a forgery in progress,” Derek Chauvin pinned George Floyd to the ground for seven minutes as bystander Darnella Frazier filmed the encounter. During that time, Floyd moaned, sobbed, “Oh Mama, oh Mama,” begged, “Please, please, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe” at least 11 times. A horrified first responder bystander asked cops to check his pulse 17 times. Other distressed witnesses joined in with “Bro, you’ve got him down, at least let him breathe, man,” and, “He’s not even resisting arrest … he’s human, bro.” One of the cops responds, “This is why you don’t do drugs, kids.” After about four minutes, Floyd lost consciousness. Though a witness charged, “You just really killed that man, bro,” Chavin kept his knee on Floyd’s unmoving neck for another four minutes. … Read The Rest


  • Excerpt From Malcolm X’s Fiery Speech Addressing Police Brutality — In 1962, a confrontation with the LAPD outside a mosque resulted in the death of a Nation of Islam member. It was an event seized on by an outraged Malcolm X, who would condemn it in an impassioned speech. Link To 2+-Minute Video


NYC Dog Walker Knew Exactly What She Was Doing When Calling Cops On Black Man

By Zeba Blay
HuffPost (5/26/20)

Amy Cooper knew exactly what she was doing. That’s the wildest and most insidious part of all this ― the part we haven’t been talking about enough.

On Monday evening, yet another video of a white woman calling the cops on a Black person out of spite went viral. This time, the woman in question was Amy Cooper, a dog owner who had unleashed her cocker spaniel, Henry, in a section of Central Park called the Ramble where, legally, dogs must be on a leash at all times.

Christian Cooper, a Black man, had reportedly asked the woman to put a leash on her dog. She didn’t appreciate his request and what transpired was captured in a video by Christian Cooper, in which the woman, unhappy with being recorded, threatened to call the police.

The clip of Cooper sneering “I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life” highlights this truth about race in America: White people are far more aware of the structure of the thing than they care to admit.

“I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,” Amy Cooper says in the one-minute clip.

And she did, whining hysterically, emphasizing the fact that her so-called attacker was African American (and nearly strangling her dog in the process).

What was clear in her words and how she used them was that she didn’t actually feel physically threatened ― rather, she was wielding her privilege as a white woman with the knowledge that accusing a Black man of violence was a weapon against him.

The video sparked outrage within hours of being posted online. Twitter sleuths quickly dug up Amy Cooper’s name, her workplace, and even the shelter where she adopted her dog. Her employer, Franklin Templeton, issued a statement indicating that she had been placed on administrative leave. She willingly surrendered her dog to the Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue. …

Read The Rest And 2-Minute Video


WATCH: White Minneapolis Investor Calls Security On Black Businessmen For ‘trespassing’ In Their Own building

By Travis Gettys
Raw Story (5/27/20)

A group of black businessmen was confronted by a white venture capitalist for using the private gym in the Minneapolis building where they rent an office.

The Tuesday evening encounter was recorded by one of the men who own the digital marketing firm Top Figure, and shows venture capitalist Tom Austin asking whether they “belong” in the shared private gym.

“What office are you in?” Austin says, as the men try to explain they are tenants in the building. “I’m calling 911 now.”

The men told Austin, who identified himself in the video, they were all tenants and pointed out later they needed key cards to access most parts of the building.

“Granted in order to enter the building you NEED a key card to enter EVERY part of the building which EACH of our team members individually have,” the men posted on their company’s Instagram page. “We all pay rent here and this man demanded that we show him our key cards or he will call the cops on us. We are sick and tired of tolerating this type of behavior on a day to day basis.”

The video shows Austin reporting the men to MozAic East building security, and he later told Bring Me The News that some of the men appeared to be trespassing. …

Read The Rest And 30-Second Video