Updated: Sep 3
We’ve all seen the video by now. It is so cruel and evil that it’s hard to look at. Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on the neck of George Floyd for 8 minutes and 46 seconds until he dies. But, new evidence from his autopsy suggests that George Floyd had a lethal dose of fentanyl in his system, and that may be the actual cause of his death. This information is not presented in an attempt to exonerate Derek Chauvin. His culpability in George Floyd’s death is clear and obvious. He either directly caused his death through asphyxiation, or he kneeled on George Floyd’s neck for over 8 minutes as he died from a drug overdose. In both scenario’s, Derek Chauvin acted in an evil way, and is responsible for George Floyd’s death.
But the person who is also culpable in the death of George Floyd is never mentioned, was never pursued by the police or the media. In fact, we don’t even know his name. That person is the drug dealer who sold George Floyd the lethal dose of fentanyl. George Floyd was a drug addict. That is a fact. You do not ingest a lethal dose of fentanyl if you are not addicted to drugs. So, the person who supplied the lethal dose of drugs to a known drug addict is just as culpable in the death of George Floyd as Derek Chauvin, and should be charged with murder.
When we analyze police shootings of black people after each incident, we discuss race, police brutality, political agendas, systemic racism, the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, but how often do we discuss the impact of drugs and the obvious mental impairment of the individual which escalated the situation into an inevitable violent or deadly outcome.
Rayshard Brooks who was shot and killed by a police officer in June, was completely intoxicated. He had been found passed out in his car in the drive thru lane at Wendy’s. He resisted arrest, assaulted a police officer, stole a police taser, and fired it at the officers. Does that sound like the actions of a person with sound mental faculties? Does anybody ever make good decisions when they are intoxicated or high on drugs or alcohol? Time and again, we see how impairment of intoxicants cause the escalation of these situations into violence and death.
Think about all these cases of police shootings. What are the two common denominators in these cases? The person who was shot did not comply with police and the person who was shot was high on drugs. In Ferguson, Missouri, Michael Brown was high on drugs, did not comply with police, and attacked a police officer. Was the police officer racist? Was Michael Brown a bad human being? Or was Michael Brown acting erratically and violently, inconsistent to his character, because he was high on drugs?
In Kenosha, Wisconsin, a police officer, responding to a domestic violence call, pointed a gun directly at Jacob Blake and ordered him to freeze. Jacob Blake walked right up to and passed the officer, went to his car, opened the door and reached inside for a weapon. No one in their right mind would act like that. No one. Someone high on drugs would. Just being high on drugs is not a sufficient reason to be shot, but the behavior caused by being high on drugs many times threatens the life and health of others which causes the officers to act in a way to defend others and themselves.
How many more of these police shootings did drugs play a major role in the outcome? The police officer’s job is to establish control over the scene to produce a peaceful outcome in the interaction. Everyone involved must comply with the police officers. If there are people at the scene who do not comply, who are behaving erratically or dangerously because their brains are swimming in drugs or alcohol, problems will arise.
Was the police officer a racist, or was he reacting to a non-compliant individual acting dangerously because he was out of his mind on drugs? Was the victim a bad person, or was he engaged in criminal behavior and resisting arrest because he was controlled by the chemicals swirling around in his brain.
Many people blame the cops for these incidences, others blame the victims. I blame the people lurking along the edges of our society, who continually get a free pass in these incidences, the drug dealers.
If a person gives a known suicidal man the gun that he uses to kill himself, shouldn’t that person be held culpable in the man’s death? If a bartender over-serves a patron and knowingly allows him to drive away from the bar to go kill himself or others in a drunk driving accident, isn’t the bartender held accountable? So, when a drug dealer sells a known drug addict the lethal dose of drugs that kills him, shouldn’t the drug dealer be held accountable for that death? If a drug dealer provides an individual the drugs that infects his mind and causes him to commit violent acts, or escalate a police interaction which results in a shooting, shouldn’t the drug dealer be held accountable?
Alice Johnson, who was convicted in 1996 of 8 federal crimes related to being the leader of a multi-million dollar cocaine ring with ties to Colombian drug cartels, had her life sentence pardoned by President Trump in 2018. Everyone involved in the pardon is congratulating themselves. They often refer to Alice Johnson as a “non-violent” drug offender as if her only offense was smoking pot in her bedroom.
Let’s be very clear, Alice Johnson was a drug dealer. She probably sold drugs to a lot of young kids. That’s what drug dealers do. How many of her clients’ hearts stopped beating from the drugs she supplied them? How many mothers have lost a child because of the drugs she put out into society? How many deaths are attached to the name of this so-called “non-violent” drug offender? How many body bags have her fingerprints all over them? How many young black kids shot by police officers were committing crimes and resisting arrest due to ingesting the drugs Alice Johnson sold them?
We, as a society, are making a dramatic shift in our view on drugs. There is a strong push to legalize drugs, and to view drug dealers as “non-violent” and let them out of prison. Do we think it will be a good thing to have more high people walking around? More people with drugs swirling around their brains upsetting the delicate chemical balance needed for a human being to make good decisions? Will more people using drugs cause more people to make better and less violent decisions? Will that cause there to be less criminal behavior? Will that make the general public safer? Will there be less assault, less armed robbery, less rape if more people are out of their minds on drugs? Will more people being high make interactions between them and the police resolve more peacefully?
Drug addicts are the victims of the drug trade, and should not go to jail. Drug addicts are sick, and they need rehabilitation. Drug dealers are evil individuals, no less evil than Derek Chauvin. They exploit the youth. They exploit the most vulnerable among us. They destroy lives. They destroy communities. The collateral damage of their behavior is felt throughout society. They should spend 23 hours a day for the rest of their lives staring at a 6x8 jail cell. It’s great that Alice Johnson has turned her life around, but let’s not let her story cause us to pretend that the act of selling drugs is not a violent act. It is an act of violence against the drug addict, and it’s an assault on society itself.