Shocking footage of police brutality has emerged within the protests taking place over the death of George Floyd.
Several videos have captured scenes depicting police shoving an elderly white man to the ground, the use of Tasers on unarmed protesters, and the charging of demonstrators by security services. The elderly man, aged 75, was filmed being pushed by police who were attempting to enforce curfew in Buffalo, New York. The man fell to the ground, hitting his head and subsequently bleeding from his ear. He was later found to have suffered a severe head injury. Outrage followed after Buffalo police claimed the man “had tripped” during a “skirmish involving protesters”. However, since the emergence of video footage, the two officers involved have been suspended without pay.
Additionally, a delivery driver was arrested for breaking curfew despite being a key worker. Though essential workers are exempt from these restrictions, the man was filmed being escorted in handcuffs 27 minutes after curfew.
Various other videos have swept across social media, including the use of pepper balls and smoke bombs on demonstrators to ensure President Donald Trump could walk to a nearby church for a photo opportunity. In response, the America Civil Liberties Union, a civil rights group, filed a lawsuit which accuses the president and others of violating the constitutional rights of protesters.
The unrest was sparked by the brutal killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by Minneapolis police on May 25th. Additionally, details have emerged of a similar incident by police in Arizona on the same day. Dion Johnson, another unarmed black man, was shot dead by state troopers in a “struggle” after he was found “passed out in the driver’s seat” of a car partially blocking traffic, a police statement reads.
New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo, defended police actions in a statement on Thursday. He said they were not beating citizens “for no reason”, and if they did then “it’s wrong”. A statement from City Mayor Bill de Blasio said authorities were “doing everything from a perspective of restraint”. However, with the shocking footage of police brutality emerging, both men have condemned the incidents, as Mr Cuomo tweeted that the Buffalo incident was “wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful… police officers must enforce – NOT ABUSE – the law”.
The unrest continues with no end in sight. However, the shocking footage of police brutality against what are largely peaceful demonstrations exacerbates the deep rooted divisions between security forces and the citizens they swear to protect. Though footage has emerged of police officers kneeling alongside protesters in the memory of George Floyd, it has largely been overshadowed by the distressful imagery of brutality sweeping across the United States.