New York City is getting even weirder after placing golden head statues of George Floyd, John Lewis, and Breonna Taylor where they will be on display until October 30th, 2021 then moved to other cities. The display is called “SeeInJustice,” but the imagery is going to upset many who see it.
Imagine the business you worked so hard to build gets burned down in the name of social justice, and the reason for social justice was George Floyd’s death. Wouldn’t you be upset by the statues being “worshipped” as if they were community leaders? Both George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were criminals and connected to the drug trade in many ways.
In the case of Breonna Taylor, neighbors stated very clearly that police announced themselves before conducting the search warrant for her property. The man she had in her home was suspected to be Jamarcus Glover, but Kenneth Walker was in the home. Walker began shooting at police officers as soon as they entered the home. It wasn’t a mistaken identity or wrong house type of situation. Police were there for a lawful purpose, and no officer-involved was indicted even though Taylor lost her life. Taylor also rented a vehicle, and a dead body was found inside of it in 2016. Glover was the main suspect. Taylor wasn’t a completely innocent party, as people continue to say. Her involvement was enough for the police to get a search warrant for her property.
Floyd’s death while in police custody was worldwide news. Floyd was placed on the ground at his request while officers had him in handcuffs, and Officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on Floyd’s neck, and Floyd died. During one of the two autopsies’, Floyd was found to have a high amount of fentanyl in his system and had tested positive for Covid-19. Both can shorten someone’s breath and cause them to die when they are put in a position of panic, particularly fentanyl. A fentanyl overdose is quick and abrupt. It slows the breathing of the individual who ingested the substance and quickly led to their death. An overdose on top of a knee on Floyd’s neck would lead to death very quickly. Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin appeals for his case because of the publicized and politically motivated trial that led to Maxine Waters (D-CA) standing in Minneapolis and telling protesters to stay in the streets if Chauvin is acquitted. There’s a lot to be said of jury intimidation.
Last is John Lewis, the only person involved that may deserve recognition. Lewis was heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and was part of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee that held sit-ins and non-violent protests. Lewis’ protests were against actual segregation like White-only restrooms, restaurants, public parks, etc. Lewis had a long, uphill battle, but his activism led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and many other Civil Rights laws, including de-segregation.
The Theodore Roosevelt statue was once on display in the same area the George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and John Lewis statues are currently, but a decision was made to remove the statue. The city also removed a statue of Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Constitution. Neither Roosevelt nor Jefferson were racists. Jefferson did a lot of good for Black Americans even though he was a slave owner. He spent time educating and getting the Black Americans that lived on his plantation a chance at survival, and his second wife was a Black American. Jefferson would travel with her on numerous occasions. His idea of integrating slaves into society was to educate them and make sure they weren’t thrown into society with no ability to thrive. He said that integration without education was cruel.
The discrepancies between what a hero is and what a hero isn’t are getting very blurry. Floyd and Taylor aren’t heroes. They had clear actions that placed them in the position that caused their death. Chauvin should undoubtedly be held accountable for his actions, but Chauvin’s crime failed to get Floyd’s medical attention, resulting in Floyd’s death rather than second-degree murder. The appeals case will be an interesting turn of events.