Racism in United States of America is not an exception. It’s the norm. Two incidents have come as a reminder of this grim reality. The first is from the state of Virginia, where two White cops pointed guns and pepper-sprayed a Black US army officer for a missing license plate. This happened in December, a lawsuit has been filed now, and the second incident is from Minneapolis, where a Black man has been shot and killed by the police. Why? For a traffic violation in any other country, these violations would lead to a fine but clearly not in the land of the free.
Where the colour of your skin seems to increasingly determine the severity of your crime and the timing is important here. These incidents are being reported and discussed at a time when Derek Chauvin, a White police officer is on trial for the murder of a Black man George Floyd.
This is not an encounter. This is a traffic stop. This man is not a wanted criminal. He is a lieutenant in the US army. What’s his crime? A missing license plate.
Caron Nazario, a second lieutenant in the US army and a Black and Latino American, was driving his new SUV with a temporary paper plate. He was asked to pull over by two cops. What followed was sheer racism camouflaged as obstruction of justice. This footage was shot in December but a lawsuit in the case has been filed now.
Nazario has sued the two cops for their behaviour. More than a thousand miles away from Virginia in the state of Minneapolis, another Black American couldn’t even opt for legal recourse. He was shot and killed by police officers for a traffic violation in Minnesota. The incident took place barely 16 kilometres away from where George Floyd was killed.
Minnesota department of public safety commissioner John Harrington said about the police incident that later prompted the protests. “Our early report was that one officer had fired a weapon, striking the driver. The vehicle continued and eventually crashed and medical resources were then deployed to the scene to aid the people in both the vehicle that was crashed into and the original group. The driver of the vehicle was deceased. The aftermath seems like deja vu. Hundreds of locals have descended on the streets of Minnesota.
There are protests, there’s tear-gas and the same rallying call, ‘black lives matter’.
Myah, a protester, said, “Who knows if there’s gonna be a difference in this world, who knows if it’s going to be the last time that we all come together in something like this.”
As the protests continue, the trial of Derek Chauvin over George Floyd’s death is yet to reach any conclusion. It’s been three weeks and jurors are still analysing the testimonies.
Whatever be the final verdict, the chances of it are eradicating America’s virus of racism seem abysmally low.
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