8 Minutes 46 Seconds: Too Long A Time

By Dr. Vitus Ozoke June 5, 2020

8 Minutes 46 Seconds: Too Long A Time

Question: What is the real reason for the worldwide protests and riots over George Floyd’s death? Is it because a black man was murdered by a white cop or because we are horrified by the way a black man was murdered by a white cop? Put differently, are we angry that a white cop murdered a black man, or that he put his knee on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds until he expired?

It cannot be that we are angry because a white cop murdered a black man; after all, a black woman Breonna Taylor, aged 26, was murdered in her own home by white cops just this February. I think the real reason we are protesting and rioting is because we are mortified by the inhumane manner that a white cop, aided and abetted by three others, murdered a black man.

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Our indignation comes not from knowing or hearing that a black man was killed by a white cop, but from watching the brutal execution of a black man by a white cop. That should worry us. It should worry us because it raises the bar, it creates a dangerous standard for our emotional protection of an endangered species. We should not wait until a black man or woman is gruesomely murdered by a white cop. Not every human neck can last for 8 minutes and 46 seconds under the weight of another’s knee.

Every murder of a black man by a white cop, every murder of any human being by any cop, should be enough to summon us onto the streets of Minneapolis, New York City, Philly, L.A, Atlanta, Miami, Washington, DC, London, Lagos, and elsewhere. The standard for public indignation must remain at the unlawful and unjustified taking of life by those paid to protect it. Waiting for 8 minutes and 46 seconds before we act is a long wait. Many lives will be lost while we wait for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

I hope our anger does not last only as short as it took to asphyxiate George Floyd. I hope our anger lasts past 8 minutes and 46 seconds. We cannot let our anger be buried with George Floyd. There will still remain tens of millions of black men in America who are potential victims of American police cruelty and brutality. Their necks may not last 8 minutes and 46 seconds under a police knee, but they too will deserve nights of protests and rioting. 46 seconds should be enough as should 1 second. 8 minutes 46 seconds is too long a time. #ICantBreathe

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