On 25th May 2020, in the wake of a Global Pandemic called Corona Virus, George Floyd an African America male in Minneapolis, Minnesota died brutally at the hands of a Police Officer named Derek Chauvin. The death of Floyd sparked international protests across countries including Berlin, UK, USA and others in light of seeking protection for people of various races (anti-racism) and against police brutality.
George Floyd was pinned down by the officer on account of alleged resistance to arrest in light of forging a cheque, the same has not been proven yet. However, in the videos as well as CCTV footage the resistance at the behest of George is not seen. As the Police officer pinned Floyd down with his knee on his neck, he can be heard saying “I can’t breathe, please”. This encounter with the police was seen as a clear case of police brutality and racism as a black man was strangled to death, on the basis of a crime which was not proven yet.
The case took the world by sparking protests in the name of #BlackLivesMatterand the trial of Derek Chauvin emerged as one of utmost importance as it creates a precedent for not only police brutality but also for the fight against racism in America. Derek Chauvin was charged with Third Degree Murder and second-degree manslaughter leading to a sentence of 12 ½ years and 4 years of imprisonment respectively for the acts.
In Minnesota, third degree murder (unintentional killing) is defined as causing death of a person "by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind," without regard for life and without intent to kill. For third degree murder, depraved indifference is to be proved which is disregard to the risk and doing an act so dangerous, death could occur. Second-degree manslaughter is described as when a person "an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another."
For the most part, though the trial is yet to commence, various legal outlets and the personal lawyer for Floyd’s family believe that the officer must be charged with first degree murder, where it is higher than third degree as intent is also present. It is believed that since the officer pinned Floyd down for a period of 8 minutes, intent is evident as no prudent man would think otherwise that stepping on the neck of a person for more than 8 minutes would not result in his death.
However, on the other hand many also believe that if they charge him for first degree felony murder, then the did jury would fixate on the intent of the officer. If the same is, then the officer would walk free without a murder charge and merely involuntary manslaughter which is a low-level criminal act. Therefore, the third-degree charge helps keep in mind the recklessness of theofficer and is the best chance at murder conviction.
The concept of racial persecution is not one that is new to the world and has been a problem since ages only in different forms in different countries. In America it is the racial persecution on the basis of the colour of the person’s skin, while in India many Muslims have been targeted merely on the basis of them belonging to a certain community. Few of these cases include -
1. Former Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor was found guilty on the same charges in May 2019. Noor shot and killed Justine Damond, an unarmed Australian woman living in Minneapolis who was fatally shot after calling 911 to report a possible sexual assault. Noor was sentenced to serve 12 1/2 years in prison.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman also charged Noor with second-degree murder, but the jury acquitted him on that count. The guidelines recommend 12 1/2 years for unintentional second-degree murder but go up to 25 1/2 for intentional second-degree murder.
2. UAE - Indians across borders have faced charges for spreading Islamophobia. In the UAE 3 men in the working class have been found spreading Islamophobia in a predominantly Muslim country. The people who spread such messages are often Hindus from an Indian household who believe that the Muslim population is the reason for the spread of corona virus in this particular instant. Islamophobia has been a deep-rooted sentiment for many Hindus/Indians that is now being given light due to the uncovering of discrimination everywhere. The 3 men in UAE are currently facing action for the hate-speech.
3. Indians in Pakistan - This is avery deep-rooted sentiment in Pakistan much like that of Muslims in India. Though Pakistan is a declared Muslim country, the Hindus, Christians, Jains, Sikhs in the country still face discrimination and are historically oppressed. Citizens are forced to be converted into becoming Muslims in the country against the person’s will. A study by Nayyar & Salim (2003), found that the textbooks contain statements that seek to create hate against Hindus.In July 2016, two young Hindu men were shot by members of a mob in the Ghotki district of Pakistan’s Sindh province. Kumar Satish Dewan, aged just 17, died from his injuries There are numerous other such cases, the action against the same is however limited as they are minorities.
4. Muslims in India - This particular area is a very well-known subject in India with hate crimes on the basis of religion only increasing by the day. With major incidents such as the Muzaffarnagar violence, the Bombay riots and the recent outbreak over the NRC-CAA laws. The Muslims in India have been historically minoritized and not been given enough representation. Further, the introduction of the new citizenship bill has been the root cause of various protests andviolence in the country stopped only due to the corona virus outbreak. This communal rift of Hindu-Muslim and marginalising of Muslims has caused riots, deaths, hate, police brutality among others.
Though this was prevalent, current times have caused for an introspection into the country itself and the racial persecution that Muslims, Dalits and other communities face based on their race. There have been 104 unarmed black men in 2015 who have been killed by the Police. Such glaring numbers are the reason for the spark in the people to fight and end the racism circle.
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