Murder (verb): the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought. Under most modern statutes in the United States, murder comes in four varieties: (1) intentional murder (i.e., premeditated); (2) a killing that resulted from the intent to do serious bodily injury; (3) a killing that resulted from a depraved heart or extreme recklessness; and (4) murder committed by an accomplice during the commission of, attempt of, or flight from certain felonies.
Quite simply, according to any logical definition of the term, George Floyd was murdered. Four Minneapolis police officers callously disregarded Floyd's pleas to stop, and warnings that he was suffocating, and as a direct result of their actions, the man is dead. I have not heard the police's official perspective on this story, but even if I had, I think that I would find it extremely difficult to justify such abject brutality on a man for whatever reason they believe he needed to be subdued, and I believe the manner of his subduction to be just as important as its intent.
"Some of us live in a cloud of fear, some live behind iron gates."
The level of violence used against Floyd for his supposed crime was excessive, even for police. My understanding is that these men have been fired from their positions with the Minneapolis Police Department, and that further criminal charges against them are still being withheld pending an ongoing FBI investigation. But will that be enough? The actions taken in this incident threaten to, once again, ignite racial tensions in communities throughout the country, which does no one any good regardless of which facet of the issue you choose to advocate.
Should those who caused Floyd's death be held accountable? Absolutely. Does Floyd deserve justice? Yes, he does. But my question is "will there ever be enough?" Will there ever be enough respect given by the police to the citizenry that the police are sworn to protect? Will there ever be enough respect for the police who actually do their jobs to "protect and serve" without being painted by the same brush has those who, like these men, seem to use the law as an iron fist to suppress and subdue in a bid to support some obscure authoritarian ideal?
"Some live behind iron gates while others only see the worst."
For my part, both as a Marine and an advocate for liberty, I believe we need to see the return of "peace officers" instead of "law enforcement". The difference is subtle but important. The phrase "I was only following orders" has been used throughout history to justify any number of brutal acts, but in my opinion, this goes far beyond the idea of "following orders" or even "upholding the law". I personally condemn the actions of these men, and believe that they should be both held accountable for their acts, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
But will that ever be enough?