St. Petersburg’s Allendale United Methodist Church has been no stranger to activism since 2017, so it comes as no surprise to see the house of worship say something about the murder of George Floyd, a Black man who died at the hands (and knee) of the Minneapolis Police Department on Monday.
One side of a church sign, located at 3803 Haines Road N. in St. Petersburg, says “George Floyd was lynched today by the police. We can’t breathe!” while the other reads, “White Supremacy: The most dangerous virus infecting our country since 1492.”
His name is George Floyd.
He was lynched today by Minneapolis police after being accused of writing a bad check. 8 minute long suffocation, all on video. Continued choking his neck even after he was unconscious.
The most dangerous virus right now is White Supremacy... infecting this country and spreading out of control since 1492.
Floyd, 46, was pronounced dead at the hospital after Minneapolis police officers, who were told that the suspect was sitting on a car, responded to an alleged forgery. The police said Floyd, who was inside of a vehicle "physically resisted" after he got out (some video seems to indicate he didn’t). Bystander video shows a handcuffed Floyd on the ground with an officer’s knee pressed against the back of his neck. Floyd can be heard telling the officer that he was uncomfortable and could not breathe. Floyd is seen motionless by the end of the clip, with his eyes shut, laying on the pavement.
Four officers involved in the incident were fired by Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, and on Tuesday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey told the media that the knee technique is against department regulations, and that the officer had no reason to employ it.
"The technique that was used is not permitted; is not a technique that our officers get trained on," Frey said. "And our chief has been very clear on that piece. There is no reason to apply that kind of pressure with a knee to someone's neck."
But the Chicago Tribune reports that “In Minneapolis, kneeling on a suspect’s neck is allowed under the department’s use-of-force policy for officers who have received training in how to compress a neck without applying direct pressure to the airway.”
“It is considered a ‘non-deadly force option,’ according to the department’s policy handbook,” says the Tribune.
The firing was not enough to prevent protestors from taking to Minneapolis streets on Tuesday night during a 2.5-mile march to a city police precinct. Video and photos from the protests show police using tear gas and non-lethal rounds in an attempt to control the crowd. Some protestors damaged police cars and property.
Arradondo said his department would conduct a full internal investigation, and prosecutors will decide whether to file criminal charges against the officers involved.
The scene at the Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct. pic.twitter.com/ykxsfPn8PD— Carlos Gonzalez (@CarlosGphoto) May 27, 2020
Support local journalism in these crazy days. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you up to the minute news on how Coronavirus is affecting Tampa and surrounding areas. Please consider making a one time or monthly donation to help support our staff. Every little bit helps.