“I can’t breathe…”
The senseless killing of unarmed Black men, Black women, Black boys, and Black girls has become so routine that the entire nation now knows the meaning of those three words—and no matter what the color of your skin is, the significance of that fact should take your breath away.
Two editors from Black Press of America newspapers on the frontlines of the uprising in Minneapolis in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd by four police officers joined a National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) live stream broadcast on May 30 to discuss up-to-the-minute breaking news from the Twin Cities.
Al McFarlane, the editor of Insight News and Mel Reeves, editor of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, spoke of the outrage over the death of Floyd and the future of ex-police officer Derek Chauvin, who was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
The Spokesman-Recorder and Insight News represent 130 years of combined reporting on Black news and history in Minneapolis. Both McFarlane and Reeves remain on the ground and in the fight.
They provided insight into the minds of the many who continue to express outrage over Floyd’s murder.
NNPA President/CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. also joined the broadcast.
“We are amidst a coronavirus pandemic, but we also have an epidemic of White supremacy, we have an epidemic of racially motivated police brutality, and right now all the eyes of the world are on Minneapolis,” Chavis said.
Reeves said there’s a cautious calm at the moment, but further protests were planned in Minneapolis.
“The National Guard has been called out, and you see those vehicles that you saw when they raided Iraq and Afghanistan. People are upset and outraged, and folks are still protesting, and some folks take advantage of the protest,” Reeves said.
McFarlane focused on the appropriateness of the outrage.
“The murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department on the evening of Memorial Day—this man was apprehended by police accused of forgery,” he said. “An alleged $25 infraction and the consequence was his death. Now the burning of this city and the cities across the nation.”
Reeves has been in the middle of protests and has reported from the forefront.
“The system that has allowed the killing of George Floyd will continue unless we come forward with an organized effort to push back, reform and change the system that’s brutalizing us,” Reeves said.
He added that many believe undercover police officers and non-African Americans have instigated and ignited riots and fires, which have been blamed on Black people during the uprising.
“People need to be cautious in their criticism, and the truth is it wasn’t they, the young people identified undercover police officers and people who were not Black initiated the burning and breaking of windows.
“The nation needs to know the power structure here needed to know that it is important to take the focus off the protest and put it back on us. They make it look like we are the violent ones, the animals, when they’ve have treated us violently and like animals.”