Though this was filmed in 2005, it still applies today. In fact, the gap is even worse now, and the wealthy are paying even less in taxes than they were then. Problem?
Last May, the whole world reacted to the murder of George Floyd caught on video by a quick-thinking teenage bystander. We watched the minutes tick by as Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd's neck. We watched Floyd tell the officers he couldn't breathe and then call out for his mother. We watched him stop talking, stop moving, stop breathing while Derek Chauvin kept on kneeling with his hand in his pocket.
While most of the attention has been on Chauvin's actions in that horrifying video, there were three other police officers involved at the scene.
Three other officers who participated in either helping hold Floyd down or watching as it happened. Three officers who witnessed their colleague murder a man in plain sight, with bystanders begging them to intervene, and doing nothing to stop it. Three officers who didn't even try to resuscitate the man who had stopped breathing right in front of them.
The accountability of those officers has been in question since Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter in the George Floyd case. Now, a federal grand jury has indicted all four officers, including Chauvin, for willfully violating George Floyd's constitutional rights.
Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao have been charged with depriving Floyd liberty without the due process of law, which, according to the indictment, "includes an arrestee's right to be free from a police officer's deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs."
The indictment lays out how the officers violated that right:
"Specifically, the defendants saw George Floyd lying on the ground in clear need of medical care, and willfully failed to aid Floyd, thereby acting with deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of harm to Floyd. This offense resulted in bodily injury to, and the death of, George Floyd."
In addition, Derek Chauvin has been charged with the use of unreasonable force, and two of the officers, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng, have been charged with willful failure to intervene in stopping Derek Chauvin's use of unreasonable force.
All three counts fall under "Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law," which, according to the Justice Department "is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any."
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland recently announced an investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department to determine whether there is a pattern or practice of constitutional rights violations in the way policing is conducted in the city.
The Minneapolis police said in a statement that MPD police chief Medaria Arradondo "welcomes this investigation," will fully cooperate with federal prosecutors, and "understands that the intent of this inquiry is to reveal any deficiencies or unwanted conduct within the department and provide adequate resources and direction to correct them."
Garland vowed during his confirmation hearing that civil rights would be a primary focus of the Department of Justice and appears to be making good on that promise. There are also legislative changes in the works with the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a bill passed through the House of Representatives but not yet taken up by the Senate, which would limit the unnecessary use of force and make it easier to prosecute police officers accused of misconduct.
While there is much to debate about the future of policing in the U.S., there is little question that something needs to change in our criminal justice system. Derek Chauvin's conviction of George Floyd's murder was one big step toward greater accountability for police brutality. We'll see what happens from here, but the indictments of these officers offer additional hope that police will not be able to violate people's rights and do irreparable harm with impunity.
"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN
From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.
To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.
First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.
Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com
Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.
"The packages were personalized to each mother with their names, a hand-written love note from the nursing team and items based on their pregnancy stage (which trimester, pregnant/postpartum) including newborn items (bottles, pacifiers, diapers, wipes, toiletries), toiletries and maternity clothes from the mother, as well as self-care items (journal, uplifting reading books, aromatherapy). My favorite part of the care package was hand-made quilts created by an 80+ [year old] retired doctor."
Courtesy of CeraVe
Continuing with her service, Richards is currently working on starting a non-profit organization, Our Mommas Heal, an expansion of the work that she's already doing in the community. "Our goal is to be the advocates for these at-risk mothers by connecting them to the necessary resources to ensure they have a high-quality, safe, equitable, uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery: education, other organizations like nurse family partnership, vetted health care providers," said Richards.
As a dermatologist-developed brand rooted in the medical community, CeraVe® is committed to supporting and celebrating healthcare professionals like Nurse Richards. Richards' story is the first of four we'll be sharing in the coming weeks.
As part of its commitment to nurses, CeraVe® is also a proud sponsor of the ANA Enterprise and their Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ initiative, a movement designed to transform the health of the nation by improving the health of the nation's 4.2 million registered nurses. Through the initiative, ANA is connecting and engaging with nurses to inspire them to take action in five key areas: activity, sleep, nutrition, quality of life, and safety.
Additionally, over the past year, CeraVe® has donated more than 500,000 products to hospitals to help provide therapeutic skincare relief to healthcare workers and is continuing the product donation efforts. Nurses looking to engage with the brand and learn more about these initiatives can join the Shift Change: Nurse Essentials Facebook group, an online community hosted by CeraVe® where nurses come together for personal and professional empowerment.
To see more stories about nurse heroes, visit www.heroesbehindthemasks.com/.