US cop's gun, inherent racism kill Patrick Lyoya
Published: Apr 17, 2022 08:45 PM
A woman wears a sweater with an image of Patrick Lyoya as protesters march for Lyoya, a black man who was fatally shot by a police officer, in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, April 16, 2022. Photo: AFP

A woman wears a sweater with an image of Patrick Lyoya as protesters march for Lyoya, a black man who was fatally shot by a police officer, in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, April 16, 2022. Photo: AFP

Almost two years after the tragic death of George Floyd, it seems the US hasn't seen a slowing of police shooting innocent people of color, especially African Americans.

On Saturday, demonstrators in Grand Rapids, US state of Michigan, marched for a fifth consecutive day to protest against the fatal police shooting of 26-year-old Congolese refugee Patrick Lyoya on April 4 during a traffic stop. The footage of Lyoya's shooting released by the local police department Wednesday showed a disturbing scene: The young black man was forced to lay face down on the ground, while a white policeman straddled him and then shot him in the back of the head. Many, including Lyoya's father, called this an "execution."

In his 2020 presidential campaign, Joe Biden publicly pledged to fight institutional racism and reestablish a police oversight committee. However, neither of these promises has been kept yet. A Twitter user commented, "In eight weeks, Biden has done more for Ukraine than he's done for black Americans in two years."

Police shooting is a severe problem in US society. Statistics from several media outlets and independent investigation agencies show that in recent years, about 1,000 Americans were killed by police each year. The number in 2021 was 1,019, with no sign of declining. According to an investigation of the Washington Post, even though half of the people shot and killed by police are white, black Americans are twice more likely to be killed by police than white Americans.

Li Haidong, a professor from China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times that US police shooting, particularly of the less powerful social groups, highlights the chronic fetish for guns and racial discrimination in the country's police culture.

"US police officers are usually quite civil when facing white people, but some of them become so violent when they encounter African Americans," noted Li. "This proves the deep-rooted racism in US society is on all levels, be it social, political or in law enforcement."

Discrimination and human rights violations against vulnerable social groups based on race and ethnicity still go on in the US. But such problems are difficult to eradicate, because they are inherent in the country's history since its founding, and racism won't disappear as long as the US still exists. Although racism is highly criticized and condemned in US media, examples of such a sick evil constantly appear in its society.

Lyoya's father said through an interpreter on Thursday that he had not believed that there was a "genocide" in the US. What he implies is he does believe so now, and his son is a victim of a "genocide." Ironically, the word "genocide" is a label the US often uses to attack other countries, but it is now being used by the family member of a victim of human rights abuses to bash Washington.

It is quite serious to accuse any country of committing "genocide," and unlike Washington, we will use this word with great caution when referring to what is happening with ethnic minorities in the US. However, it is certain that the US is making almost no effort to address its human rights issues while making all efforts to attack others' "human rights violations." Perhaps that is why tragedies like the killings of Floyd and Lyoya keep happening in the country. The double standards of the US elite are not helping resolve human rights issues at home.

The US has turned out to be a disgrace to the cause of human rights, and it is humiliating itself by boasting it is a "beacon of human rights." 

"Throughout the country's history, the US has committed a series of human rights abuses, from genocide against Native Americans, widespread discrimination against the black people, to the ubiquitous marginalization of ethnic minorities. This all shows that the US' human rights conditions are rather poor. Washington is definitely not qualified to proclaim itself as a human rights defender or a straight-A student on human rights in the world," Li said.