By George Miller
The Minneapolis killing of George Floyd by a police officer triggered protests, then sometimes riots, not just in Minneapolis, but in a number of cities nationwide.
The events within Ventura County have been peaceful protests, occurring in Oxnard, Ventura and Thousand Oaks.
- Oxnard: Dozens of protesters (KEYTV says two dozen, but photos we saw look like over 100) with signs marched from a local church to the nearby police station down C Street on Saturday, a possible attempt to link the Floyd killing to police in general. Some of the signs in photos we saw were quite inflammatory.
- Ventura: According to one of our well-informed readers, there were three demonstrations, at 1, 3 and 5 pm, at City Hall. He last saw them at about 6:30 pm. He said about 20 people showed up with Black Lives Matter signs, protesting. About 30 more showed up at 3 pm. Later in the day, at about 5 pm, about 15 came. They didn’t look like the same people in each wave. A few appeared to be “operatives,” or organizers, he said. Police observed from a distance only- no obvious police presence, none required.
- Thousand Oaks: About 100 protesters were on the corners of Westlake and Thousand Oaks Blvds. on Friday. Another group showed up on Saturday, prompting a large presence of Sheriff’s Deputies and closure of roads in the city, including freeway exits, per Sheriff’s Office Watch Commander Capt. Macias, who talked with us on Saturday night and said things “got rougher” on Saturday. One CJ reader headed south to the lake had to detour to Lindero Canyon Road. She claimed she heard that people were breaking windshields with baseball bats. But, we could find nothing to support that and Capt. Macias said there was no evidence of any vandalism or violence. The Star reported that Women United for Change and Indivisible were the Friday organizers.
Meanwhile, we heard from multiple sources, a large group of Sheriff’s deputies was sent to help out in dealing with the LA riots. Note that some call them “protests,” but when they escalate to violence, destruction of property and looting on that scale, they become riots.
One notable thing about the Ventura County events: Unlike LA and some other areas, these folks ran a well-disciplined, class operation. No violence, no vandalism, no intimidation- but clear messaging.
But what was the message? Who can morally argue with the term Black Lives Matter? Pretty much no one. Who can legitimately argue that George Floyd’s death was not wrong? Probably no one. If he did anything wrong, it certainly wasn’t a capital offense and even if it was, police are not supposed to be executioners.
Was it done accidentally or deliberately? Charges of third degree murder indicate the prosecutors don’t think it was purely an honest mistake. There is clear evidence that both Floyd himself and civilian observers told the officer that Floyd was having trouble breathing. He had pre-existing conditions. A knee on the neck seems extreme for allegedly passing a bad check and NOT resisting an officer. What about the other three officers on the scene who didn’t prevent it? But we haven’t heard all the facts yet.
Was it racially motivated? We have seen no evidence of that so far. But, if it was racially motivated, was it part of some widespread epidemic of racist cops doing this in a pattern? Not according to research reports we have seen and books such as The War on Cops. But Black Lives Matter thinks otherwise. They also point out other areas where they believe discrimination is occurring.
In summary: Is it legitimate or not to say that the Floyd killing was part of a much larger pattern of racist cops? Did this incident justify nationwide protests, violence and destruction (peaceful in VC)?
But, with or without the legalities, sociology and politics, no matter how you slice it, a man, a human being, was unnecessarily and unjustifiably killed. God rest his soul and protect his family.
On their website:
#BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives.
Travon Martin’s killer (not a policeman) was acquitted on self-defense grounds. Michael Brown, also mentioned as a movement icon, was proven to be culpable in his own killing and had a history of violence. But would these men still be alive today if they were white?
There was nothing visible on the BLM website about the Floyd incident at time of publication of this article.
Sheriff Ayub statement: https://www.facebook.com/william.ayub/posts/3329789707032435
George Miller is Publisher/Co-Founder of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard.