It’s been more than two months since George Floyd’s death — captured on video — was seared into the national psyche. The presumption, of course, is that his death is a horrific example of racial disparities, if not overt racial discrimination, in policing.
After two months, it remains a presumption. Floyd’s death sparked two months of riots, massive protests, shootings, arson, looting, assaults, property damage, toppled statues, institutional name changes, movements to defund police forces, curriculum changes, and public flagellation and genuflection. Floyd’s death and its repercussions remain the subject of extensive media coverage and may have an impact on the fall elections.
Yet two months after the fact, race as the defining feature in Floyd’s death remains a presumption that’s based entirely on the fact that Floyd was black and Derek Chauvin is white. An Internet scan reveals scores of reports based on the presumption that Floyd’s death is a reflection of systemic racism in America, racist police, etc.
But other than the respective races of Floyd and Chauvin, there’s no public evidence that Floyd’s death was due to race. Some may emerge during the investigation and trial of the four arresting officers involved, but none thus far. There’s no evidence any one of them used racial slurs during the arrest. Indeed, one of the officers is black, another Asian. There’s no evidence of disparate treatment of similarly situated white suspects. There’s no evidence that the arresting officers have a record of racial animus in policing or behavior. There’s no evidence of prior discipline on the basis of racial discrimination. There’s no evidence of racist posts on social media. The recently leaked expanded video of Floyd’s arrest reveals no race-related remarks.
In today’s woke America, noting the lack of objective evidence of racism is considered invincibly naive and blinkered. Everyone knows America is systemically racist. Everyone knows this is about race because cops kill blacks in disproportionate numbers.
But that’s false. It remains false regardless of how casually and often media, mobs, and politicians repeat it. It remains false even if no one will say so for fear of cancellation. Blacks are actually underrepresented in police-related deaths in proportion to black overrepresentation in crime.
Evidence that Floyd’s death was race-related may yet emerge during the investigation and trial of the officers involved. But given the massive media and political attention to the incident — as well as the media’s manifest bias — if there were any hint of race-related evidence, it likely would’ve been uncovered by now, and reported in granular and overwhelming detail.
In the meantime, the country’s gone through two months of death, destruction, and division — convulsions that may alter the nature of our system — all without evidence that the precipitating incident was due to race.