George Floyd died in police custody after an officer placed his knee upon the man’s neck for up to eight minutes. In shocking footage, Floyd can be seen pleading for his life and bystanders can be heard asking the police let him up to breathe. Police officers present appeared to look on apathetically with cold indifference. Riots have broken out in the nation’s inner cities in crowds that seem to range from the genuinely grieving to looting opportunists. Although Montana seems far removed from this tragedy, protestors still gathered in Helena with #BlackLivesMatters apparel and signs to protest the injustice.
Earlier today, several dozen protestors gathered at the City-County Building in Helena to signal their virtue and show solidarity with rioters around the nation (see above).
Gathering at safe social-distance spacing and wearing medical masks, the crowd held signs that read, “We must do better,” “say his name,” “please I can’t breathe,” and “#BlackLivesMatter.”
The organization known as #BlackLivesMatters has been a prominent component of racial protests since 2013, when it was formed to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, which was ruled as self-defense. Since then, it has organized protests around the country, some of which have gotten extremely violent. #BlackLivesMatters was reported to be responsible for instigating the 2016 shooting of police officers in Dallas.
The protestors in Helena would not speak to the press or provide commentary. They simply held signs.
In regards to George Floyd, few if any nationwide are siding with the Minneapolis Police Department, and not even the Minneapolis Police Department is siding with Officer Derek Chauvin who has been arrested and charged with Floyd’s murder. For many onlookers, given the officer’s swift arrest and pending prosecution, it is uknown what exactly protestors are protesting. The wheels of justice do seem to be turning in the matter.
Thankfully the protest in Montana, unlike many nationwide, has not resulted in overturned police cars, burned police departments, vandalized property, or looted stores.