The George Floyd Act wouldn’t have saved George Floyd’s life That says


On Wednesday night, the House of Representatives voted to pass the George Floyd Act, named after the Black man killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin last summer. Among many reforms, the act seeks to ban racial profiling, overhaul qualified immunity for police, and ban the use of chokeholds. While these seem like good measures, they are woefully insufficient to stop police violence. These reforms could not have even saved George Floyd’s life. To be clear, Floyd did not die from a chokehold. A police officer put his knee to Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. A medical examiner’s autopsy reported “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression”. Floyd also had blunt force trauma to his head, face and shoulders. Banning chokeholds is important, as we should reduce the number of tactics that the police can employ to be dangerous. However, the problem with policing is precisely that – they can kill people using a diverse number of tactics. Shooting, kneeling, punching, suffocating, Tasing. Congress banned one practice, and not even the one responsible for the homicide. Floyd was also probably not racially profiled. He did not have to be if he was breaking the law. Reportedly, Floyd tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill at a corner store. The clerk called the police because using counterfeit money is illegal. The definition of racial profiling is when police uses someone’s race to suspect that they have committed a crime. Here, Floyd’s act may have constituted a crime and the police showed up to fix it. What’s more criminal than counterfeit cash is the society where people live off of these transactions in corner stores in the first place. The police cannot solve this problem. They can show up and attempt to stop the crime, but they can’t stop the underlying conditions that give rise to it: class exploitation and poverty. Floyd appeared to need cash, not the police. Congress has had several opportunities to give people what they actually need under the pandemic: money. George Floyd had tested positive for Covid-19 in April. By the time of his death, lawmakers had only distributed $1,200 to the public, and not everyone received this stimulus check. I wonder if Floyd would have used a counterfeit $20 if Congress would have issued $2,000 a month to the public as several activists and progressive legislators have been demanding. George Floyd’s blood is on their hands. But instead, Congress does what it always does when the police kill people: give cops more money. The George Floyd Act, named after someone who died because he didn’t have money to cover cigarettes, gives millions of dollars to police in grants. And lawmakers gave the police more money right after they failed to secure a $15 federal minimum wage and failed to deliver on the $2,000 checks they promised to voters who put Democrats in office. But, Congress made sure to include $750m in the George Floyd Act to investigate the

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