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Police Brutality And Discrimination Against African Americans

According to a Washington Post analysis, African Americans are killed by the police at more than twice the rate of white Americans, despite only making up 13% of the American population. Many African Americans have become victims of police brutality due to systemic racism and the criminalization of people of color. Last May, yet another unarmed African American man named George Floyd died at the hands of the police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The police officers responded to a call from a store clerk who claimed Floyd paid for cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. Officer Derek Chauvin handcuffed and pinned Floyd to the ground, pressing his knee onto Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes until he died. Bystanders pleaded for the other officers to help Floyd as he repeatedly screamed, “I can't breathe.” The incident was captured on video, inciting Americans from all over the country to protest against police brutality in America. As a result of over half a million protesters demanding justice for George Floyd and other innocent African Americans that were killed through police brutality, the recent Black Lives Matter protests may have been the largest-ever movement in the history of the United States.

Image Credit: Jon Tyson

Discrimination against the African American community has been a continuous threat to external freedom as it oppresses, creates prejudice, and is unjust towards people of color. African Americans have protested against these injustices as far back as just after the Civil War. Databases have reported that over 164 African Americans have died in a police-related incident in the first six months of 2020 alone. African Americans feel that the police are not protecting their community, but are, instead, protecting the rest of America from them. From the perspective of a black person living in America, when the police arrive to investigate a reported crime, the chances of the situation becoming fatal are high. Thus, when there are issues that arise in the black community, calling the police is the last thing on their minds. In a recent poll from 2019, 63% of African Americans reported having a fear of police officers using deadly force on them or a family member. Meanwhile, a study from the University of South Florida shows that only 6.6% of white Americans have ever felt such fear of the occurrence of a similar event.

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