“I Cannot Breathe”

“I cannot breathe.”

Those were the famous last words of Eric Garner. We all remember the uproar from the black community that happened after Garner died on the street at the hands of the police six years ago. We all remember watching the video of his death as spread through social media. We all remember hearing him utter those last three words before he was murdered.

Now another African American man has uttered those words before being killed at the hands of the police.

“I cannot breathe.”

George Floyd was murdered Monday night in Minneapolis.

Not that this matters or would make it right, but he wasn’t even wanted for a violent crime.

Police were called to the scene because of a report of a fraudulent transaction at Cup Foods. An employee thought Floyd was signing a bad check. YES, you read that right. This man died because of a bad check. Show me a white man that has ever been confronted and murdered because of a bad check.

Police arrived to the scene and found Floyd in a car. According to the police, he was intoxicated. They ordered him out of the car and began to arrest him.

“After he got out, he physically resisted officers,” police spokesman John Elder told reporters early Tuesday. “Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and officers noticed that the man was going into medical distress.”

They knew he was not medically okay. They knew they were hurting him, yet for five minutes three officers held him down and put over 500 pounds of pressure on him while one of them held his knee on Floyd’s neck until he died.

He is in handcuffs . On his belly. That already makes it hard for people to breathe.

This man, who, like Eric Garner, yelled over and over and over again that he could not breathe.

“I cannot breathe! I cannot breathe!” the man pleaded with the officers. “Don’t kill me!”

At one point, he asks officers for water.

“I can’t breathe,” he says in the video. “My stomach hurt, my neck hurt, everything hurts.”

They had no regard for his life. Every witness at the scene pleaded with the police officers to help Floyd.

“You’re going to just sit there with your knee on his neck?” one bystander calls out during the video.

“Bro, he’s not even fucking moving!” another person protests. “Get off of his neck!”

Even after he died the cops still did not let up.

This was another modern-day lynching

Being Black in America should not be a death sentence.

For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a Black man’s neck. FIVE MINUTES.

For five minutes we watched these four officers murder another member our community.

He was a human being. His life matters.

Eric Garner’s life matters. Amadou Diallo’s life matters. Manuel Loggins Jr’s life matters. Ronald Madison’s life matters. Kendra James’ life matters. Sean Bell’s life matters. Michael Brown’s life matters. Alton Sterling’s life matters. Akai Gurley’s life matters. Ahmaud Arbery’s life matters. Breonna Taylor’s life matters.

My life matters.

How long until it’s me saying the words “I cannot breathe.”

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Nathan Odige