George Floyd died after being pinned down against the pavement by Minneapolis police officers during a May 25 arrest, which a bystander caught on video.
George Floyd died after being pinned down against the pavement by Minneapolis police officers during a May 25 arrest, which a bystander caught on video.

In the years leading up to George Floyd’s death with his neck beneath the knee of a Minneapolis policeman, at least 58 people lost consciousness after the city’s officers put them in neck restraints, according to CNN, which analyzed data from the police department on its use of force.

Officers used neck restraints on 428 people since 2012, and 14 percent lost consciousness, the data showed.

That means the procedure, which is restricted or banned in many large police departments around the country, was used an average of about once a week in the city over that time period, according to CNN.

About two-thirds of the people placed in neck restraints by Minneapolis officers were Black — in a city where Black residents make up 19% of the population, according to Census Bureau data.

That information and the rampant police shootings of African Americans was at the heart of an address Tuesday given by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

After going out to personally meet with demonstrators in Delaware, Biden has taken a firm stand against the police murder of George Floyd and the overall plight of African Americans who’ve been targeted, brutalized and killed by law enforcement officers.

“‘I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe’ — George Floyd’s last words,” Biden said. “But they didn’t die with him. They’re still being heard. They’re echoing across this nation. They speak to a nation where too often just the color of your skin puts your life at risk.”

Between 2013 and 2019, police in the United States killed 7,666 people according to data provided by Mapping Police Violence, a research and advocacy group.

The number of police killings in America disproportionately affects African Americans, who despite only making up 13 percent of the U.S. population, are two and a half times as likely as whites to be killed by police.

Biden’s address comes as uprisings continue throughout the country and as viral video and news reports show police using tear gas to disperse peaceful demonstrators gathered near a church where President Donald Trump visited.

Trump has also suggested that police shoot demonstrators and he continues to publicly consider using U.S. armed forces to combat protesters.

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Biden up nationally by a 53 percent to 43 percent margin among registered voters.

CNN reported that the context of individual polls continues to show Biden is in one of the best positions for any challenger since scientific polling began in the 1930s.

“There were more than 40 national public polls taken at least partially in the month of May that asked about the Biden-Trump matchup,” CNN reported. “Biden led in every single one of them. He’s the first challenger to be ahead of the incumbent in every May poll since Jimmy Carter did so in 1976. Carter, of course, won the 1976 election. Biden’s the only challenger to have the advantage in every May poll over an elected incumbent in the polling era.”

In his address, Biden expressed concern for African Americans and other minorities who have suffered under oppressive government policies.

He said Floyd’s last words speak to a nation “where more than 100,000 people have lost their lives to a virus and 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment — with a disproportionate number of these deaths and job losses concentrated in the Black and minority communities.”

“And they speak to a nation where every day millions of people — not at the moment of losing their life — but in the course of living their life — are saying to themselves, ‘I can’t breathe,’” Biden said “It’s a wake-up call for our nation. For all of us.”

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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