Colin Kaepernick Defends Protesters After George Floyd's Death, Offers Help with Legal Fees
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick voiced his support for protesters following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died this week after a white Minneapolis police officer forcefully kneeled on his neck as he was being arrested.
In a social media post on Thursday, Kaepernick called revolting "the only logical reaction" for protesters when "civility leads to death," as it appeared to do in a viral video that showed an officer — later identified as Derek Chauvin — placing his knee firmly on the back of Floyd's neck as the man lay face down on his stomach next to a patrol car.
The 46-year-old — who was unarmed and handcuffed — died as Chauvin and three other officers on the scene ignored his cries for help.
“When civility leads to death, revolting is the only logical reaction,” Kaepernick posted on Instagram and Twitter. “The cries for peace will rain down, and when they do, they will land on deaf ears, because your violence has brought this resistance. We have the right to fight back! Rest in Power George Floyd.”
Kaepernick famously sparked the #TakeAKnee movement in 2016 when he refused to stand during the national anthem in protest against police brutality and racial injustice in the United States.
The 32-year-old opted out of his contract with the 49ers in March 2017 and has been unable to find a new team. Still, Kaepernick has remained an outspoken activist and has continued to use his platform to help those in need.
On Friday morning, the athlete announced the formation of a legal defense initiative for protesters in Minneapolis funded by the Know Your Rights Camp, an organization he founded.
"In fighting for liberation there's always retaliation," he wrote in one tweet. "We must protect our Freedom Fighters. We started a legal defense initiative to give legal representation to Freedom Fighters in Minneapolis paid for by @yourrightscamp."
The four Minneapolis police officers present during Floyd's arrest were fired on Tuesday for their involvement in his death after footage of the incident went viral on social media.
Chauvin was taken into custody on Friday afternoon, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety announced at a press conference. It was not immediately clear what charges he might face.
Police initially characterized the death as being the result of a "medical incident" before the video was shared on social media, and alleged that Floyd resisted arrest after police responded to a report of forgery. The situation is now being investigated by the FBI.
During an interview with CNN on Tuesday night, relatives of Floyd condemned law enforcement while expressing their grief.
"They were supposed to be there to serve and to protect and I didn't see a single one of them lift a finger to do anything to help while he was begging for his life," said Tera Brown, Floyd's cousin. "Not one of them tried to do anything to help him."
The family also started a GoFundMe campaign to help cover Floyd's funeral and burial expenses, as well as help them as they "continue to seek justice for George."
"My family and I watched in absolute horror as the now infamous and horrifying video began to spread quickly throughout social media," Floyd’s sibling, Philonise Floyd, wrote in a description on the page. "What we saw on that tape left us shell shocked; a white Minneapolis police officer kneeling directly on my brother's neck, obstructing his ability to breathe."
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"As some officers knelt on his neck, other officers participated and watched; no one took any action to save my brother's life," she continued. "Those officers would continue to brutalize my brother until he died."
The campaign has raised nearly $2 million as of Friday afternoon.