Photo via @snoopdogg
The protests started with the death of George Floyd, but now they’re about much more than one one man. Many people are speaking up and sharing support for the movement, including Snoop Dogg, who publicly condemned the American justice system in the incident’s aftermath.
On May 25, a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, killed George Floyd, a black civilian, in broad daylight. Floyd was unarmed and posed no immediate threat. According to eyewitness accounts and bystander videos, Floyd fully complied with police after they stopped him for allegedly trying to buy goods with counterfeit money and driving under the influence.
Officer Chauvin restrained Floyd by pinning the 46-year-old to the pavement with his knee pressing into the back of the victim’s neck. On video, Floyd pleads for his life, calling out for his mother and saying, “I can’t breathe,” an echo of the last words uttered by Eric Garner, another unarmed black man strangled to death in 2014 when the NYPD employed an illegal chokehold. Chauvin was accompanied by three other police officers: Officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas K. Lane.
According to reports, Kueng restrained Floyd by his back, Lane held down Floyd’s legs, and Thao stood by without intervening. On May 29, Chauvin was arrested by the Minneapolis police and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. No charges have been made against the remaining three officers involved in Floyd’s arrest.
Snoop Dogg, who has never kept quiet when it comes to racism against black Americans, turned his Instagram into an anti-police brutality podium over the weekend.
Snoop’s first Instagram post in response to Floyd’s death came on May 27. It shows a photo of Officer Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck next to a photo of former NFL player Colin Kaepernick kneeling on the field. The photo is captioned, “This… Is Why.”
“no justice just us,” Snoop wrote under the Chauvin vs. Kaepernick photo.
During the NFL’s 2016 preseason, Kaepernick and other players began silently kneeling during each game’s national anthem segment in protest of police brutality, particularly police brutality against unarmed black men. NFL players who “took a knee” during the national anthem incited condemnation from conservative media outlets and politicians. Among those conservatives was President Trump, who described Kaepernick as a “son of a bitch.” Trump also called on the NFL to “fire” any player who knelt in protest during the national anthem.
Snoop then shared nine more posts criticizing police brutality and white supremacy. One post showed photos from the arrests of mass murderers Dylan Roof and Patrick Crusius, who targeted black and Latino Americans, respectively, to initiate race wars in the US. The photos of Roof and Crusius’s relatively cushy arrests were placed alongside photos of police brutally arresting Eric Garner and George Floyd, neither of whom was armed nor accused of committing mass murder.
“So nice to the (white ),” Snoop wrote regarding the arrests of Roof and Crusius. “Mass shoootin suspects minutes after they killed 32 people combined But we die on the spot change gone come fuck marching and. Talking we done talking” [sic]
Two days later, both the US media and Snoop’s Instagram account became saturated with debates about Floyd’s death and the deaths of several other unarmed black Americans at the hands of police. By this point, protests over Floyd’s death in Minneapolis had exploded into full-scale riots and looting. Several retail chain stores and the police precinct where Officer Chauvin worked were set on fire. Over the weekend, Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Denver, and other US cities either experienced riots or unrest in response to Floyd’s death.
On Saturday, Snoop posted, “Vocal about the looting. Silent about the murder. I see y’all.”
Adding insult to injury, black and Latino CNN reporter Omar Jimenez, who was covering the protests and riots, was arrested by Minneapolis police live on-air after identifying himself and complying with their orders.
On Sunday, hundreds of protesters in Washington, DC attempted to storm the White House. Secret Service agents, decked out in riot gear, set up blockades and fired tear gas to prevent the protesters from reaching the White House lawn. President Trump reportedly relocated to a bunker during the protest.
Trump has described Floyd’s death as a “terrible thing” and a “tragedy.” He has publicly given support to “peaceful” anti-police brutality protesters, but has condemned the riots.
On May 28, a Trump tweet described the rioters as “THUGS… dishonoring the memory of George Floyd.” He threatened to send in the military to quell the riots, adding, “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” The tweet has since been flagged by Twitter for “glorifying violence,” an offense that violates Twitter’s rules.
In 2017, during a speech given to New York police officers, Trump praised US cops for their harsh arrest tactics and encouraged them to treat suspects uncivilly.
“When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon. You see them thrown in rough,” Trump said back then. “I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice.’”
Several US police department representatives strongly criticized Trump’s remarks. “President Trump’s comments fly in the face of the responsibility our city’s officers display in the line of duty,” Maya Wiley, the chairwoman of the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, said in a statement shortly after Trump’s so-called “law-and-order” speech.
“But for many communities in our city, President Trump’s comments only [stoke] fears of interacting with officers,” she continued. “President Trump’s speech today was shameful, dangerous, and damages the progress our city has made toward improving police-community relations.”
For years, Snoop has blasted both Trump and police brutality. In 2017, Snoop’s music video for “Lavender,” a track that attacked unjustified lethal police tactics in the US, featured a bumbling clown that resembled Trump.