Violence against blacks “systematic problem”

A cop shoots a man in Michigan

Black People Initiative: Violence against blacks “systematic problem”

The violent death of 26-year-old Black Patrick Lyoya caused great horror in the United States. The man was stopped by police in the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, for irregularities with the license plate. Lyoya tried to escape, had a physical altercation with a white police officer, who eventually shot the 26-year-old in the head while he was on the ground.

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Police images show the 26-year-old man lying helpless on the ground.

The crime also caused horror in Germany. “I am amazed and speechless that such incidents repeat themselves over and over again,” Tahir Della, a spokesman for the Black People Initiative in Germany, told the German publishing network (RND). The incident cannot be explained at all. “The man is on the ground, pinned down, the policeman put his knee on him and then shot him in the back of the head,” Della dismayed. “The inhibition threshold is very low, which shows how deeply rooted violence is, especially against blacks.” For the police officer, Lyoya presented no danger in the situation.

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After the incidents became known, protests erupted in the city of some 200,000 inhabitants, protesters expressed their displeasure with loud chants and banners reading “Black Lives Matter”.

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Recently, however, the movement, which has its roots in the summer of 2013, has become a little quieter again. The movement began after George Zimmerman was acquitted on July 13, 2013 of the murder of 17-year-old high school student Tryvon Martin. “The topic is always booming, with many people dealing with it. At some point the topic will disappear again, ”Della explains. It was therefore not foreseeable that the protests would go on for years. “The need to deal with it seems to diminish at some point,” Della complains. This is the great difficulty. “It is a systematic problem, but we do not want to address it in a systematic way,” the spokesperson said.

The current protest images from the US are reminiscent, albeit in much smaller form, of the protests after the death of George Floyd, who was also killed in a police operation on May 25, 2020. For many days, people have descended into square under the motto “Black Lives Matter”, demonstrating against police violence and structural racism. There have been some serious riots.

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Former Minneapolis officers were found guilty of denying Floyd’s right to medical treatment while in police custody.

More than 20 people died and there were other cases of police violence during the protests, including against journalists. 40 cities in the United States imposed curfews following the riots, 23 states used the National Guard to support police. However, the protests were not limited to the US itself, but extended to large parts of the world. In Germany, Austria, Great Britain and France, for example, many people took to the streets under the banner of “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace”.

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Less than a year after the incident, former policeman Derek Chauvin was found guilty and sentenced to 22 years and six months in prison. Three other former police officers involved were also sentenced in February for failing to assist. Each of them faces prison.

“We as a society would also be well advised to address the issue of institutional racism in Germany more intensely.”

Tahir Della,

Spokesperson for the Black People Initiative in Germany

Despite the dire events, Della thinks it is wrong that the debate on racism and racist police work is often tied only to the United States. “We as a society would also be well advised to address the issue of institutional racism in Germany more intensely,” says Della. Here too there are numerous examples from the past, for example with the NSU, where the German security authorities also have work to do. “Racism is also a profound problem in Germany. But that’s not how it’s dealt with. Because it is clear to everyone that this would have far-reaching consequences in the treatment ”, Della analyzes. However, there must be a talk and the self-image of the security authorities must change as well. “Not enough happens in the aftermath of such acts. We must demonstrate that the revaluation has clear consequences ”, asks Della.

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