Sosa: Justice for Floyd is a start

Columnist Luca Neuschaefer-Rube argues key differences that he has noticed when visiting the United States from abroad.

If you haven’t watched the trial about George Floyd’s killer, you need to. It will be a wake-up call for many.

Floyd died because he was Black. It’s simple for those who experience discrimination and racism to see this; it’s simple for those that believe all human beings have inherent worth and should be treated with dignity.

But just if it isn’t clear:

The police responded to a counterfeit bill call and arrested and killed Floyd. Floyd is Black.

The police responded to a multiple-murder killer, armed and dangerous to the public. The suspect gets arrested, and he is not killed. The suspect is white.

These are just two examples, but you can read many, many others where the suspect is an actual killer, the police know, yet the suspect is arrested and no one is killed. The suspects are white.

I still believe there are way more good people working in the police than bad ones. However, there are plenty of bad cops, and the structures that enable these bad actors to thrive and kill in the communities of color and minorities is a deadly problem that needs to be addressed. But that’s for another time.

Floyd was human. I’m not going to vouch for his life choices, but I will vouch for his humanity. He was far from perfect and needed to be held accountable for his actions, but that does not mean he should have been executed.

Justice served at the hand of officers without trial, without “due process,” is no justice at all. It is a crime. It goes against all the ideals we supposedly hold as a country.

When I first learned the Pledge of Allegiance, I was so proud to say it every morning in class.  It made me feel so good knowing this was something we stood for. Though, I was a baby then. Today, how can we pledge those words? There can be no “justice for all” without justice for all.

If you watch the trial videos, you see Floyd crying out for help. You see him struggling. You see him ask for the one need we all have in common, regardless of anything: air. He doesn’t get it.

At one point, he cries out to Charles B. McMillian, who was nearby and was trying to get Floyd to cooperate with the authorities. Floyd cries, “Man, I’m scared as f*ck man!” Almost as if he understood at a deeper level the fate that awaited him. He had reason to be afraid.

One of the things I saw on the online livestreaming of the trial of Floyd’s killer is that the judge doesn’t allow the witnesses to talk about the past. The witnesses need to focus on the facts of what happened during the arrest and killing — not of what has transpired before.

With that in mind, many have tried to discredit Floyd’s life and character. This is the only way a human death can be wrongly justified in their minds. Because only when we think of people as less deserving, less than us, only then can we accept to treat them inhumanely.

Yes, Floyd made probably way too many mistakes. His allegations that he put a gun to a pregnant person’s belly make him seem cold and mean. Still, no amount of crimes he had done in the past deems his death justifiable.

If Floyd had not been Black, he could have killed a few people in the Cup Foods store, been high and arrested fine, and not die. Just look through all the arrests for mass killers and check out the color of their skin and whether they were arrested or killed.

One of the things McMillian said to Floyd was, “You can’t win.” I saw McMillian cry on that stand. I felt his pain of wishing he could have done more. I saw the many other witnesses carry that same pain and seeing their own family members in the position of Floyd. Many regret not doing more.

Floyd was killed at the hands of a police officer. He was treated as less than human, but we are still in America. Now that there is an actual trial going on, we will see how far America has come. We will see if the banner of freedom and justice and liberty for all that our flag represents is really starting to fly for all — over the land of the free and the home of the brave.