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“For five minutes we watched as a white officer pressed his knee into the neck of a black man who was helpless. For five whole minutes. This was not a matter of a split-second poor decision.” – Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey
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This excerpt is a letter addressed to Officer Tou Thao, the second policeman caught in the viral video of George Floyd's arrest. Trigger warning to dear readers: Today's entry mentions death, racism, and police violence. On that note, you are more than free to choose not to proceed.

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Officer Thao,

When I first saw the viral video of the arrest of George Floyd, and I saw another policeman standing guard, for the first split second, I felt relieved. I thought, Thank God. Someone else is there. I thought, He will do something to intervene and stop this cruelty.

But that didn't happen.

That person, I learned, was you. Officer Tou Thao, an Asian American man working in the Minneapolis Police Department. You are of Hmong descent. Your badge number was 7162. You were a 12-year veteran. And in the scene of this crime, as your partner was suffocating an unarmed man, you did nothing but stand and watch.

White supremacy and oppression is a vast disease in and of itself. But I must say, Officer, seeing you as part of this crime is where my pain increased tenfold. 

I kept thinking of your presence there; how a person of colour, in uniform, was on site, with as much power in his hands necessary to save him. And yet, somehow, you blatantly failed to use it. And in doing so, failed your community, your nation, and Mr. George Floyd. 

When the marginalised sides with the oppressor, we move so much further away from victory. So much further from the reach of justice. Faced with the chance to upturn abuse of power, you, instead, chose to comply.

So even if it was Officer Chauvin who has been arrested for manslaughter this week, I think it's clear here, Officer Thao, that he wasn't the sole perpetrator. I don't think it was merely your partner's act, which you happened to be cruelly complicit in. You, too, are a perpetrator. Your silence, Officer Thao, is as guilty as your partner's knee. 

Your role in Mr. Floyd's death has not gone unnoticed. It is as seen by the threats sent to Asian American members of nearby communities. The idea that someone can come from a racial minority background, to later be complicit in the murder of another racial minority, is unnerving to me. 

Even more surprising is to learn that this was nothing new on your record. With six previous complaints filed against you, you still somehow evaded disciplinary action. When you and another officer assaulted a man in 2014, the Department settled it for $25,000 and you walked away unscathed. 

Today, these built up years of compliance, has cost a man his life. And today, criminal defense attorney Robert Paule will speak for you in court. The man has thirty years of experience which means, once again, you will be silent. 

Tell me, Officer Thao, in that bleak, soundless courtroom, how will it feel to hear yourself breathe?

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Perhaps we should learn by now that it is not enough to condemn white people for unlawful actions. While the popular discourse equates bigotry to white privilege, in this case it is clear as day: Bigotry is bigotry. It is systemic, institutionalised racism that needs to be abolished. So at this stage, I want to remind everyone that action is the only acceptable condolence. 

Our shock and heartbreak helps no one, if we don't sign, don't vote, and don't educate ourselves and others. Even any microagression I face as an Asian woman in this world is, in the furthest extent, unscalable, compared to the vile, life-threatening dimension of racism that African Americans face in their country. So I further try to educate myself, as should all of us, not only on this case, but on the racism prevalent in our own countries and communities. 

Here is where you can sign a petition to help the case of George Floyd.
This article gives more ways on how you can take action for other initiatives.

I hope, in the grand scheme of things, against all odds, you are staying well.

Signed,
Jo