Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a worldwide communal movement. They were initially formed in the year 2013 at United States of America. The movement was initiated to eradicate racism that took various forms especially that was more prominent in the form of police brutality. The name # Black Lives Matter was trending on various social media’s and were chanted across the globe where the movement took place. This was to showcase the disapproval of the unwarranted killings of Black people by police. That the perpetrators be held responsible, and that the society needs to value the lives of the people belonging to the black community.
History: “BLM was cofounded in 2013 as an online movement (using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media) by three Black community organizers—Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi. They formed BLM after George Zimmerman, a man of German and Peruvian descent, was acquitted on charges stemming from his fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager, in Sanford, Florida, in February 2012. Zimmerman, a neighbourhood-watch volunteer, had seen Martin walking in his neighbourhood and called the police because he thought Martin looked “suspicious.” Although Zimmerman was told not to do anything, he followed Martin, got into an argument with him, and shot and killed him. When law enforcement arrived, Zimmerman claimed that he had been assaulted by Martin and fired in self-defense.
Zimmerman remained free for weeks, but, as the shooting gained national attention, demonstrations demanding his prosecution were held in cities across the United States. He was finally charged with second-degree murder and arrested in April 2012. At his trial more than a year later, Zimmerman claimed that he had acted in self-defense, citing a controversial Florida law known as “stand your ground.” His acquittal in July 2013 was widely perceived as a miscarriage of justice and led to further nationwide protests.”
One primary case example can be given on this, one of them is the killing of Trayvon Martin, where “On the night of February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, United States, George Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African American boy. Zimmerman, a 28-year-old man of mixed race, was the neighborhood watch coordinator for his gated community where Martin was visiting his relatives at the time of the shooting. Zimmerman shot Martin, who was unarmed, during a physical altercation between the two. Zimmerman, injured during the encounter, told police he shot Martin in self-defense. In a widely reported trial, Zimmerman was charged with murder for Martin’s death, but acquitted at trial after claiming self-defense. The incident was reviewed by the Department of Justice for potential civil rights violations, but no additional charges were filed, citing insufficient evidence.”
These movement and its related organizations typically advocate for various policy changes considered to be related to black liberation. While there are specific organizations that label themselves simply as “Black Lives Matter,” such as the Black Lives Matter Global Network, the overall movement is a decentralized network of people and organizations with no formal hierarchy. The slogan “Black Lives Matter” itself remains untrademarked by any group. Despite being characterized by some as a violent movement, the overwhelming majority of its public demonstrations have been peaceful.
George Floyd Protests
The George Floyd protests were a series of protests and civil unrest against police brutality and racism that began in Minneapolis on May 26, 2020, and largely took place during 2020. The civil unrest and protests began as part of international reactions to the murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man who was murdered during an arrest after Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis Police Department officer, knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. as three other officers looked on and prevented passers-by from intervening. Chauvin and the other three officers involved were later arrested.
In April 2021, Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison with possibility of supervised release after 15 years for second-degree murder in June 2021.
The George Floyd protest movement began hours after his murder as bystander video and word of mouth began to spread. Protests first emerged at the East 38th and Chicago Avenue street intersection in Minneapolis, the location of Floyd’s arrest and murder, and other locations in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area of Minnesota. Protests quickly spread nationwide and to over 2,000 cities and towns in over 60 countries in support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Polls in the summer of 2020 estimated that between 15 million and 26 million people had participated at some point in the demonstrations in the United States, making the protests the largest in U.S. history.
Whilst most of these protests that carry on the values of the movement are peaceful in nature. There were certain instances where ethe protests took a brutal turn and turned into riots and looting. Accordingly, police responded violence with violence, especially against journalists. “At least 200 cities in the U.S. had imposed curfews by early June 2020, while more than 30 states and Washington, D.C. activated over 96,000 National Guard, State Guard, 82nd Airborne, and 3rd Infantry Regiment service members. The deployment, when combined with preexisting deployments related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other natural disasters, constituted the largest military operation other than war in U.S. history. By the end of June 2020, at least 14,000 people had been arrested. By June 2020, more than 19 people had died in relation to the unrest. A report from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project estimated that between May 26 and August 22, 93% of individual protests were “peaceful and nondestructive” and research from the Nonviolent Action Lab and Crowd Counting Consortium estimated that by the end of June, 96.3% of 7,305 demonstrations involved no injuries and no property damage. However, arson, vandalism, and looting that occurred between May 26 and June 8 caused approximately $1–2 billion in damages nationally, the highest recorded damage from civil disorder in U.S. history, and surpassing the record set during the 1992 Los Angeles riots.”
“The protests precipitated a worldwide debate on policing and racial injustice that has led to numerous legislative proposals on federal, state, and municipal levels in the U.S. intended to combat police misconduct, systemic racism, qualified immunity, and police brutality. The protests led to a wave of monument removals and name changes throughout the world and occurred during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and amid the 2020 U.S. presidential election season. Protests continued through 2020 and into 2021, most notably in Minneapolis at the 38th and Chicago Avenue street intersection where Floyd was murdered that activists have referred to as George Floyd Square. Several demonstrations coincided with the criminal trial of Chauvin in March and April 2021 and the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s murder in May 2021. Officials in Minnesota and elsewhere proactively mobilized counter-protest measures for Chauvin’s trial, but it did not result in unrest like what happened immediately after Floyd’s murder.”
Police Brutality exposes the kind of racism that exists and is engraved within the society. As such, it has also started separating citizens from basic values. Such as treating other human beings as equals. Case of Trayvon and Floyd is merely certain cases that ended up on the media highlight but what happens to all the cases that are and go unreported? These incidents ironically have been documented and exposes the current reality we live in. Are protests the way to go? What encourages the judiciary bets to enact laws that impact its people?
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