Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA) is a non-profit and non-partisan organization with a diverse membership representing all communities throughout our nation. We support and advocate civil rights for all Americans, and we speak up and denounce hate crimes, verbal abuse, and racial injustices against all of our fellow citizens.
We are outraged by the wrongful slaying of a black man at the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis. We stand in solidarity with fellow Americans in expressing our anger over the apparent execution of a fellow human being in front of our eyes. We demand that justice be served and that the entire criminal system be reexamined and made fair and equitable to all.
“I can’t breathe” has become the mantra for African Americans protesting police brutality ever since Eric Garner, a 43-year-old black grandfather, died from a prohibited chokehold by a New York City police officer on July 17, 2014.
Fast forward to Memorial Day, May 25, 2020. A 46-year-old black man, George Floyd, was arrested after officers were called to investigate his alleged passing of a $20 forged bill at a Minneapolis corner store. After the police arrived, Floyd was handcuffed and pinned on the ground with a policeman pressing his knee on his neck. Floyd pleaded repeatedly “I can’t breathe” but the police officer ignored his pleas for mercy and kept the knee pressed on his neck. Like Garner, Floyd died from suffocation when the ambulance finally arrived after about 9 minutes.
While police abuse and violence have the potential to harm anyone, according to Washington Post, black people are 2.5 times more likely to die at the hands of the police as compared with whites. There are reasons to believe the statistics may be even higher because of the blue wall of silence, which is the informal rule among police officers not to report on a colleague’s errors, misconducts, or crimes. However, in Floyd’s case, several passersby have used their cellphones to record irrefutable evidence of police culpability.
As a result, several days of demonstration and riots protesting police brutality have broken out in many cities across the U.S. All of the four police officers involved were fired and the main culprit has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The National Guard has been called out to restore peace and order in Minneapolis and other cities as videos of the incident go viral around the world.
APAPA laments the state of divisiveness in our country as fellow citizens are encouraged by some to be more tribal and more intolerant of each other. Our entire criminal justice system is on trial and we believe that racial Injustice must not be allowed to continue. #BlackLivesMatter. APAPA does not condone rioting and willful destruction of properties, but will continue to advocate civil rights through peaceful demonstrations including civil disobedience if necessary until equal justice is applied for George Floyd and every one of our fellow citizens.