-Condemns the arrest of CNN Reporter and crew
The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) is craving for justice to prevail in the gruesome murder of George Floyd—a situation that has since sparked nationwide protest across the United States of America.
Floyd, an unarmed African-American male in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was publicly murdered last week in a heartbreaking scene that was recorded on a Smartphone that has since gone viral on social media, practically setting the world ablaze with anger.
ALJA on Monday, June 1, called for the prosecution, to the fullest extent of the law, of Floyd’s killer, and colleagues who facilitated the crime.
The key perpetrator of the crime, Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced the charges on Friday, May 29, 2020, shortly after Chauvin was taken into custody by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
The Liberian Diaspora media organization, in a release, says though it welcomes former officer Chauvin’s recent arrest, charge, and detention, it is calling for the elevation of the third-degree murder and manslaughter charges levied against him to first-degree murder.
On May 25, 2020, former officer Derek Chauvin and three other dismissed officers of the Minneapolis Police Department in response to a 911 call in Minneapolis arrested Mr. George Floyd for allegedly passing a counterfeit US $20.00 bill.
Then the dismissed officers handcuffed and pinned Mr. Floyd to the ground. While cuffed and pinned to the ground by the former officers, Chauvin knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than eight excruciating minutes. The late Floyd cried for breath and pleaded with the former officer to get-off of his neck, but he remained adamant. As a result, the powerless African-American man died in full public view.
ALJA president, Joe Mason, visited the scene of Floyd’s death on Monday to join hundreds of others in solidarity over the savage manner in which he (Floyd) was killed.
The association, in its statement, called on the Minnesota State authorities and the federal government to ensure that the accused former officer faces the full weight of the law. The Association asserted that Chauvin’s action was intentional, cruel and uncivilized.
ALJA says former officer Chauvin’s brazen murder of the unarmed and powerless black man in full public view despite repeated pleas from the victim and bystanders can be adjudged as premeditation and therefore subject to a first-degree murder charge. Moreover, ALJA maintains the action has inflamed racial tension in the country and further exacerbated the mistrust which exists between the police and minorities, especially people of color.
Meanwhile, the Association is urging the authorities in Minnesota and the federal government to also arrest, detain and subsequently prosecute the other three former Minneapolis police officers, who aided and abetted former officer Chauvin in Mr. Floyd’s murder.
ALJA says the Minnesota authority and the federal government must ensure that the Floyd family and all Americans regardless of racial and ethnic orientations are given immediate and impartial justice in this matter because all human lives are precious irrespective of the person’s racial, socio-economic and religious orientations.
Experts hired by George Floyd’s family and the Hennepin County Medical Examiner have concluded his death was a homicide, but they differ on what caused it.
The independent autopsy says Floyd died of “asphyxiation from sustained pressure” when his neck and back were compressed by Minneapolis police officers during his arrest last week. The pressure cut off blood flow to his brain, the autopsy determined.
But the medical examiner’s office, in its report, also released Monday, said that the cause of death is “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement sub-dual, restraint, and neck compression.” Cardiopulmonary arrest means Floyd’s heart failed.
The medical examiner made no mention of asphyxiation.
But ALJA emphasized that the late Floyd’s death must not be treated as business as usual because the former officer and his accomplices’ action if not punished, has the propensity of further eroding the trust and confidence of the people, especially African-Americans, in the police and the American criminal justice system.
ALJA says that, as Africans who reside in the United States, they are equally hurt and troubled by former officer Chauvin and his accomplices’ heartless treatment of the late Floyd, but they are passionately pleading for an end to the widespread street protests and called on all parties to work together in bringing Justice to Mr. Floyd’s killers and finding a lasting solution to the issues of police brutality and systemic racism in the country.
Floyd’s case is one of many that have seen black men assaulted and killed in such a horrible way. close to 20 of such incidents have taken place since the early 1990s.
Meanwhile, the Association is condemning the arrest of CNN’s reporter Omar Jiménez and his crew by Minnesota police officers while conducting a live broadcast of the ongoing protest on Friday, May 29, 2020.
The crew has since been released and the governor of Minnesota has issued a formal apology for the incident. ALJA is also expressing concern about isolated acts of harassment of Journalists by some of the protesters. The Association stressed the important role of the press, especially in these times, to ensure that a platform is provided for the multiplicity of voices to be heard.