On May 25, 2020, Minneapolis police officers arrested George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, after a deli employee reportedly called authorities, accusing Mr. Floyd of trying to buy cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. He died while in police custody, less than 30 minutes after officers arrived on the scene. Witness recordings of the event show Floyd face down on the ground, with an officer’s knee in his neck for eight minutes, 46 seconds.

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The following day, Derek Chauvin and three other officers were fired from the Minneapolis police department. Four days after Mr. Floyd’s death, Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. The other officers present at the time have not been charged.

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“Black people in America have always been subject to dehumanization, to forced labor, to control in order to provide for the white class power structure,” says civil rights attorney S. Lee Merritt, who has been involved in numerous high-profile cases. “It’s the system of white supremacy that has changed forms in this country from slavery to Jim Crowe, to now a system of mass incarceration – or criminalization of Blackness itself.”

Continuing, he says, “Until we deal with the heart of the matter, I think this will continue to happen, and I don’t think this nation is ready for a reckoning yet.”

Meanwhile, protests and increased political tensions have erupted across the nation.

Watch Wednesday’s Dr. Phil to hear more from S. Lee Merritt, as well as U.S. Representative Karen Bass (D-CA 37th District), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, author and activist Marc Lamont Hill, and activist Tamika Mallory.

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