US racism angers Africa, as George Floyd’s killer goes on trial
Last year’s brutal murder of George Floyd by white police in the U.S. continues to reverberate throughout the African continent with protestors expressing outrage over the persecution of African Americans.
Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who killed Floyd by pressing his knee on the Black man’s neck for over nine minutes went on trial last week on charges of murder and manslaughter.
The white officer "didn't let up" even after a handcuffed Floyd said 27 times that he couldn't breathe and went limp, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell told the jury in his opening statements.
Floyd, 46, died after Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds while he was handcuffed and lying on the ground during an arrest in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020.
Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, which carries up to 40 years in prison, as well as third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He and the three other officers on the scene were fired the day after Floyd’s death.
The killing triggered protests and civil unrest across the US and countries around the world over widespread racial injustice and police brutality in America and other Western nations.
Officials in Africa have expressed concern over developments in the U.S. following the death of Floyd. The head of the African Union described Floyd’s death as an act of “murder.”
African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat took the U.S. government to task over the death of Floyd. Going a step further, the former Chadian prime minister used a powerful word that many protesters are using to describe Floyd’s death: Murder.
Meanwhile, U.S. embassies in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo issued rare statements of concern over Floyd’s May 25 death and called for accountability after the arrest of a police officer on third-degree murder and manslaughter charges.
For decades, African leaders have publicly chafed at what they view as paternalistic treatment from Western nations, but this tragic incident could compel the African Union to take the lead, says Andrews Atta-Asamoah, an Addis Ababa-based researcher for the Institute for Security Studies.