ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — The death of George Floyd following an arrest for alleged forgery in Minneapolis has sparked riots and outrage across the nation, leading to protests, like the ones held in Atlanta today.
Many saw the video of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin holding his knee down on Floyd’s neck, with Floyd repeatedly saying he couldn’t breathe and while three other officers stood nearby.
All four officers were fired, and Chauvin was arrested today, four days later, and charged with third degree murder and manslaughter.
“We are seeing black bodies brutalized in the street. This is not 1940, it’s not 1950, it’s not 1960. It’s 2020,” said Atlanta NAACP’s First Vice President Gerald Griggs.
Griggs, who is also an attorney, says it boils down to racism and abuse of power. Activists say cell phones videos and social media are simply proving these injustices happen all too often.
“It hit the height around 2014, 2015, with what happened in Ferguson and Baltimore, then of course it resurfaced here recently with Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and now George Floyd,” Griggs said.
He says the way officials have handled Floyd’s case is outrageous.
“We saw enough probable cause from the video tape to arrest all four officers for malice murder. So for them to say let’s wait and work out the process, it’s not how the criminal justice process works,” he said.
He says the other three officers involved should be arrested too.
“As an officer of the court, I respect the job that many of our law enforcement officers are doing. But I also know, that when you see a crime, it is your duty to report that crime,” he said.
Rioters say they’re tired of years of talk and no action.
“We at the NAACP do not condone destruction of property or that type of behavior, but we understand that people are angry and they have been unheard for years,” said Griggs, in response to the riots and destruction taking place in Minneapolis.
Despite the ongoing battle, Griggs says there is a solution.
“We need comprehensive legislation that addresses policing. We’ve been talking about this since probably 2012,” he said.
He says a police accountability bill is on the House table, and he’s urging everyone to contact lawmakers to pass it.
In the meantime, he says the Atlanta NAACP will continue advocating for the families of Floyd and local victims of injustice.