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The Florida Courts Are Disrespecting the Legacy and Lessons of the George Floyd Murder

Sept. 20, 2022

If the murder of George Floyd should have taught us anything, it is that the police should not be treating a person differently because of the color of their skin.  Yet, the Florida Courts are refusing to enforce that principle.  

George Floyd purchased an item using a counterfeit $20 bill.  There was no investigation into whether he knew it was counterfeit, or if he also was fooled by the counterfeit and was innocent in his use of the $20 bill.  Instead, he was forcefully hauled out of his car by police and brutality restrained causing his death by asphyxiation.   We probably would have had a different result if the person passing the counterfeit $20 bill was a white man. But the police in his case assumed the worse and would up killing Floyd based upon race-based assumptions.   

If this were a white person accused of passing the $20 bill, most likely, the police would have at least asked where he got the $20 bill. But, it appear that Floyd was treated differently because he was black.  

We would hope that the courts would invalidate arrests if the police were motivated primarily by the person’s race.  But Florida Court’s have specifically refused to do that in the 2021 case of State v. Parker, 311 So.3d 1029 (5th DCA, 2021).  In Parker, the Trial Court did the right thing and threw out the evidence because the police singled out the defendant for arrest because of his race.  But on appeal, the Appellate Court reversed and stated that the arrest was good, even if the person was singled out for his race.  In so holding, the Appellate Court stated:   

While the trial court found the instant traffic stop invalid for being pretextual, the United States Supreme Court has made clear that the constitutional reasonableness of a traffic stop is not dependent on the subjective motivations of the individual officers involved. 

This is discrimination receiving judicial protection. How are we ever to control our police? What will it take to finally bring peace.