COACHELLA – As protests erupted across the nation this week over the death of unarmed black man George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis, Minn., Mayor Steven A. Hernandez took to Twitter to say, “Our community has the right to rise up.”
Hernandez is believed to be the first and only elected Coachella Valley leader to speak out about the savage death of George Floyd.
“Goerge (sic) Floyd (sic) life was taken right before America’s eyes,” Hernandez wrote in his Tweet. “The taking of life of ppl (sic) of color has happened over n (sic) over again throughout our history.”
As for his statement that the community has the right to rise up, Hernandez told Uken Report that, “We have every reason to be angry, to cry out for justice, to say never again. I’m one that believes in peaceful protest, marches, vigils, etc.”
So, when does it stop?
“Great question,” Hernandez said. “I do believe we have to really do some soul searching in this country. Sometimes it feels as though people of color are perceived as more dangerous than others, that somehow, they are more violent and thieves. Case after case of senseless taking of lives with many on videos for all to see with no real justification.”
Much of the population of this community consists of younger Latino families (an estimated 90 percent of Hispanic origin) and, in the outlying areas, migrant farm workers.
Derek Chauvin, the police officer charged with third-degree murder in connection with the death of George Floyd, had his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes — including almost three minutes while Floyd was unresponsive — according to court documents.
The Minnesota National Guard is activating more than 1,000 additional personnel today, the group announced in a tweet Saturday morning.
Responding to murder of George Floyd, Palm Springs Police Chief Bryan Reyes issued a statement that in part says,
“As painful as it is to view the attached photo, we as a community must be true to ourselves and accept the fact there is a need for change and it starts with having those difficult conversations. I have watched the 8-minute video of Officer Chauvin of the Minneapolis Police Department kneeling on the neck of George Floyd during an arrest that ended in his death. In fact, I watched it a couple of times with absolute disgust at what I was witnessing and the absence of fellow officers taking it upon themselves to intervene. I have taken the time to reflect on this tragedy over the past couple of days as well as watch all the devastation that continues to occur.”
“… We are committed to working with our community during these trying times and appreciate opportunities to partner with you to strengthen the incredible relationships we have developed over the years,” Reyes continued. “On behalf of the men and women of the Palm Springs Police Department, we express our sincere condolences to the entire Floyd family.”
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- He Can’t Breathe: Shutterstock