Michelle Obama, Rihanna and Beyoncé Speak on Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd + Updates on Cases and Protests

Michelle Obama, Rihanna and Beyoncé are among the latest prominent individuals utilizing their platforms to speak on the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

On February 23, Arbery was jogging in a Georgia neighborhood when Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael and William Bryan chased him down and murdered him.

There were no arrests made until a video of the incident went viral on May 5.

Greg and Travis were arrested on May 7 and charged with felony murder and aggravated assault. Bryan, the third accomplice who filmed the incident, was arrested on May 21 and charged with felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

They have a preliminary hearing set for June 4 at 9:30 a.m. EST.

On March 8, Taylor was murdered in Louisville by three police officers – Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove – in plainclothes who entered her apartment and fired multiple blind shots.

The officers were looking for a suspect the Louisville police already had in custody.

In contrast to the police report, a wrongful death lawsuit states the officers entered the apartment without announcing themselves.

Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker, who was in the apartment with Taylor, corroborates that story. Taylor and Walker thought burglars were breaking in prompting Walker to fire shots at the officers.

Walker was charged with first-degree assault and attempted murder of a police officer; however, a judge recently dismissed the charges without prejudice.

Taylor’s case went viral within days of Arbery’s. The FBI recently announced they’re investigating the incident, but no arrests have been made.

A 911 call from Walker has recently been released wherein you hear the moments after officers retreated following the gunfire – available here.

On May 25, George Floyd was murdered by four police officers in Minneapolis. A video of the incident went viral showing fired officer Derek Chauvin suffocating Floyd by pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck.

Chauvin was arrested by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter by Hennepin County DA Mike Freeman. Chauvin’s bail is set at $500,000.

The other three officers have not been arrested at this time.

An autopsy for Floyd, conducted by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, determined that strangulation likely contributed to his death, but it wasn’t the only cause.

According to the report, “The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.” 

According to Doctor Eugune Gu, the results are “quite bullsh*t.”

In social posts on Friday, May 29, Obama, Rihanna and Beyoncé spoke about the recent deaths.

In her post, Obama shared she’s “exhausted by a heartbreak that never seems to stop.”

Although we’re currently talking about Arbery, Taylor and Floyd, Obama recalled how we’ve eerily grieved and protested the deaths of Eric Garner, Sandra Bland and Michael Brown.

Rihanna echoed Obama’s sentiments penning, “Watching my people get murdered and lynched day after day pushed me to a heavy place in my heart.”

She ended her post asking, “If intentional murder is the fit consequence for ‘drugs’ or ‘resisting arrest,’ then what’s the fit consequence for murder?”

Beyoncé shared a video encouraging her followers to visit this link to sign multiple petitions for Floyd.

“We need justice for George Floyd. […] There’s been too many times we’ve seen these violent killings and no consequences,” said Beyoncé.

She previously addressed Arbery’s death in a post on her website.

The justified reactions to Arbery, Taylor and Floyd’s deaths have resulted in peaceful protests and riots erupting in Minneapolis, Louisville, Atlanta and at least 30 other American cities. Protests are also happening outside of America including in cities such as London.

Hundreds of arrests have been made including 500+ in Los Angeles over the course of Friday night. Multiple cities have put curfews in place and have the national guard in place to curb the riots.

Multiple protestors and officers have been wounded. Seven people were recently shot at a Louisville protest. A shooting during a protest in Detroit left a 21-year-old man dead on Friday. And a federal contract security officer was killed Saturday in Oakland.

Black Americans have had enough since 1619. Centuries of slavery followed by Jim Crow and continuous overt racism have positioned Black Americans to react however dern well they please, but it’s important to note that there have been reports of police, white supremacists, White persons and other non-Black conspirators purposely engaging in and initiating damage, fires and looting.

Ahmaud, Breonna, George and the countless other Black lives stolen by racist Whites and police officers deserve justice. And it’s currently being demanded globally.

CNN is providing constant updates on all protests here.

There’s more information on donating funds to assist and bail out protestors here.

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Bryant Lydell

Bryant Lydell is creative, personable and quick-witted Howard and USC alum. He's the founder of The Top Tea, a songwriter, screenwriter and member of the casting team for Netflix's NAACP Image Award-winning hip-hop competition series Rhythm + Flow.

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