On Monday, Derek Chauvin, a member of the Minneapolis Police Department, handcuffed and murdered George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, as three other police officers looked on. Chauvin had a history of misconduct and complaints filed against him, but had been able to keep his job. The MPD initially framed the murder as a “medical incident,” but fired the officers after a video of the murder was circulated the next day. On Tuesday, community members in Minneapolis organized a peaceful protest, but were met with police brutality. After three days of protesting, Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
While the officers must be held accountable for their violence, their prosecution is only part of addressing the ongoing history of police brutality against Black Americans. On Thursday morning, the Tallahassee police murdered Tony McDade, an unarmed Black trans man. In March, the Louisville police murdered Breonna Taylor, a Black woman and EMT, in her apartment. Black women also experience sexual violence at the hands of police.
One of the four officers involved in the murder was an Asian man named Tou Thao. Thao’s complicity reflects the prevalence of antiblackness in the Asian community resulting from the racial hierarchy in the U.S. Asian-Americans have been upheld as a “model minority” and given proximity to whiteness as a way to prevent solidarity between people of color and ensure their continued oppression, especially the oppression of Black people. Instead of embracing our privileged status relative to other people of color, we must use it to speak out against antiblackness, particularly in our own communities, and stand in solidarity with Black communities to further the fight against racial injustice.