Perspective: Black families weigh in on George Floyd death

National outrage as officer charged

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The former Minneapolis officer seen in the arrest video of an unarmed black man, now faces charges in his death. The incident sparked national outrage in many communities - but particularly the black community.

Police Office Derek Chauvin now faces 3rd degree murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd after video showed him pinning Floyd down by his neck as he called out - “I can’t breathe”. It was video too graphic for Chastity Westry to stomach.

“It was a conscious choice. With any of those videos. I don’t want to watch that. I don’t want to watch them die,” said Westry.

Her husband, Gerry Westry, who is retired from law enforcement, watched the video and was outraged at the officer’s tactics and also because he sees more than just Floyd pinned down.

“I see myself. I see my son. I see my brother,” he said.

The family says even though they live in Ross Bridge - which is considered an affluent community - the neighborhood doesn’t change what they feel it means to be Black in America.

“I’m not naive enough to think that because I live in a certain zip code or certain community that we are 100 percent okay at all times and it just depends on who you’re running up against,” said Chastity Westry.

Cases like George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed in Georgia by two white men while on a run, have changed they way they raise and pray over their 13-year-old son.

“'Hey dad we’re going to play Nerf wars?'. Well you can do that, but you can’t do that running through someone’s yard in the middle of the night," said Chastity Westry, “The least familiar he is with being this cute little boy and as he’s growing into this man the more fear I have. And there are thousands of black moms who will say the same thing.”

In the George Floyd case, 3 other officers involved in the arrest have been fired, but not charged.

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