Why Are We Honoring Them?

Why Are We Honoring Them?

© David Burton 2020

Son of Eliyahu

     Following in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake, often violent protests and demonstrations tried to picture both as martyred saints to be looked up to as innocent victims of white police brutality against innocent and unarmed Blacks. Both victims were being honored in the same manner as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was killed at the hands of a white racist in 1968. Such a comparison dishonors the memory of Dr. King and the belittles the good that he accomplished in his all-too-short lifetime.

     The unjustified deaths of anyone is to be deplored. Unjustified deaths at the hands of police are to be condemned. Unjustified deaths of Blacks at the hands of white polite are to be deplored, condemned and abhorred. But making saints out of sinners is senseless and destroys the message that honest protestors are trying to deliver. Protest the illegal act but don’t try to create gold from dross.

     Do George Floyd and Jacob Blake deserve our admiration and respect? Should they be held up as symbols of good and right? Let’s see.

     As a consequence of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, global protests against racism and police brutality towards the black community arose around the world. People were shocked after seeing "the casual nature of the erasing of George Floyd’s life and humanity" as the 46-year-old died after police kneeled on his neck and back.
     Did George Floyd have a criminal history?
     George Floyd, 46, was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and grew up in Houston, Texas. The six-foot-seven "gentle giant" had been a star football and basketball player in high school. 13 years ago, Floyd was charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. [Emphasis mine] He later moved from his hometown to embark on a fresh start in Minneapolis where he worked as a truck driver and bouncer.
     In 2009, Floyd served a five-year prison sentence as part of a plea deal on the 2007 charge of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. [Emphasis mine]
     The reason for the police attempting to arrest Floyd in Minneapolis was that on May 25, “someone called 911 and reported that a man bought merchandise from Cup Foods with a counterfeit $20 bill”. Once at the scene, the police were told the customer was sitting in a car nearby. Floyd was in the vehicle with another man and woman. One of the officers “pulled his gun out and pointed it at Floyd’s open window and directed Floyd to show his hands".
     After ordering him to leave the car, the officer “pulled him out of the car” and Floyd “actively resisted” being handcuffed. Once restrained, however, Floyd was “compliant”.
     Asking him if he was “on anything” the officer explained that he was arresting him for “passing counterfeit currency”. But, on the way to the police car, Floyd panicked, and said that he suffered from “claustrophobia”. Two other officers then arrived in a separate squad car.
     While standing outside the car, Mr Floyd began saying and repeating that he could not breathe. He was pulled to the ground, “face down and still handcuffed". Two officers held Floyd’s back and legs. The other officer then “placed his left knee in the area of Floyd’s head and neck. Floyd said, “I can’t breathe” multiple times. After officers “checked Mr Floyd’s right wrist for a pulse and couldn’t find one”, he was pinned down to the ground for a further two minutes, until paramedics arrived. He was pronounced dead that same night.[1]

     Following George Floyd’s death at the hands of the Minneapolis police, “Hennepin County medical examiners released the toxicology report on June 2nd, 2020 which stated that George Floyd was indeed intoxicated with Fentanyl, Methamphetamine, and traces of cannabinoids and morphine at the time of his death. However, these were not termed the principal factors behind Floyd’s death. Floyd has an extensive criminal past related to the drug trade and use.” [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “George Floyd’s criminal record includes 5 convictions related to theft, possession, and trade of coke. Floyd was arrested five times in 20 years, his last cocaine arrest dates back in 2005.
     George was also linked to two convictions in the 1990s for possession and theft of a controlled substance (cocaine). However, it is not clear whether or not Floyd served his time in prison for this felony.
     "George was accused of a firearm robbery in August 1998 for which he served 10 months at Harris County Jail. In April 2002, Floyd was sentenced to 30 days in prison for trespassing private property.
     “George Floyd was involved in two more cocaine offenses, in October 2002 and in 2004, for which he did eight-month and ten-month sentences in prison respectively.
     In December 2005, Floyd was arrested for having cocaine on him and he served 10 months in state jail.
” [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 2)

     “Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was left partly paralyzed after a white police officer shot him seven times in the back outside an apartment complex in Kenosha, Wis., on Aug. 23.
     “The shooting, which happened in front of three of Mr. Blake’s children, was captured by a neighbor in a video that circulated widely and rapidly on social media. Outrage spread quickly, rekindling the nationwide protests for racial justice that had followed the deaths of George Floyd, Elijah McClain, Breonna Taylor and other Black Americans after encounters with the police.” (Ref. 3)

     Who is Jacob Blake?
     “At the time of the Aug. 23 shooting, Blake had a warrant out for his arrest for a case filed in July in Kenosha County.
     “According to a criminal complaint, Blake allegedly entered the house of a woman he knew in the early hours of the morning, sexually assaulted her and then took a debit card and car keys before fleeing in her vehicle. Blake is charged in that pending case with felony third-degree sexual assault, and misdemeanor trespassing and disorderly conduct.
[Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “The only other criminal charge we found in Blake’s past stemmed from a September 2015 confrontation at a Racine County bar. Blake was charged with resisting an officer and multiple gun-related charges after allegedly pulling a handgun in the bar, leaving and being arrested during a combative traffic stop, [Emphasis mine] a criminal complaint said.
     “There were no sexual assault allegations tied to that case, which was dismissed in 2018 due to witness issues and the age of the then-3-year-old case, according to court records and officials.” (Ref. 4)

     Mr. Blake, 29, a father of six, grew up in Evanston, Ill., and moved to Kenosha a few years ago to find work and to raise his family. Mr. Blake’s family said he was working and training to become a mechanic at the time of the shooting.
     In July, a warrant was issued for Mr. Blake’s arrest on charges of third-degree sexual assault, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. On August 23, the woman who had filed the complaint that led to those charges called 911 to report that Mr. Blake was at her home.
     Police officers responded to what they described as a domestic complaint and tried to arrest Mr. Blake. When the police responded, Blake resisted and officers twice tried to use a Taser to subdue him. Officials have reported Mr. Blake had admitted that he had a knife, which was later found on the driver’s side floorboard of Mr. Blake’s car. There were no other weapons in the vehicle.
     In a statement, the union representing Kenosha police officers suggested that Mr. Blake had forcefully resisted arrest, fought with officers, put one officer in a headlock and ignored orders to drop a knife he held in his left hand.
     A lawyer for Mr. Blake’s family, denied that Mr. Blake had been carrying a knife and said Mr. Blake had been trying to break up a disturbance involving two women when the police arrived.
     A neighbor recorded the shooting with a cellphone. The video shows Mr. Blake being shot seven times in the back in front of his children as he tried to get into his car. [3]

     When all the facts are finally in, it may turn out that George Floyd and Jacob Blake both died because of their own actions. George Floyd was a convicted felon and was being arrested for trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill and was under the influence of meth and fentanyl.
     Given Floyd’s intoxication level, breathing would have been difficult. Mr. Floyd’s intentional failure to obey commands, coupled with his overdosing may have contributed to his own death.
     Then there is Jacob Blake, who was not an innocent little angel either. He was apparently resisting arrest on a sexual assault warrant. The police said that he had a knife and was ordered to drop it, which he refused. He was tasered but it didn’t take and he walked around the car in what appears to be an attempt to get something out of it all the while the police were calling for him to surrender, which he didn’t do. He was a person who was known for pulling guns and had a history of domestic abuse.
     Why have people like this been put on pedestals and treated as innocent cherubs?[5]

     Do George Floyd and Jacob Blake deserve our admiration and respect? Should they be held up as symbols of what’s good and decent? Should we treat them in the same fashion that we treat the memories of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., George Washington Carver, Harriet Tubman, and Jackie Robinson? What’s your answer?


  1. CHANGED MAN Did George Floyd have a criminal past and what were his previous convictions?, Debbie White, The Sun, 3 September 2020.
  2. George Floyd Criminal Past Record/Arrest History/Career Timeline: Baggie, Gun Pregnant and All Details, Sachin Jangra, The Courier Daily, 11 June 2020.
  3. What We Know About the Shooting of Jacob Blake, Christina Morales, The New York Times, 10 September 2020.
  4. Fact check: Jacob Blake is accused of sexually assaulting a woman, not a child, Eric Litke, USA Today,
    11 September 2020.
  5. The Fight For America, Roger Anghis, News Worthy Views, 30 August 2020.

  27 November 2020 {Article 448; Suggestions?_53}    
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