The death of George Floyd sparked outrage across the nation as footage has spread of the arrest in which one of four white police officers on the scene had Floyd pinned to the ground with a knee to his neck as Floyd pleaded that he was having trouble breathing.
Floyd, a suspect for passing a bad check, then lost consciousness and attempts to revive him by paramedics proved unsuccessful. The four police officers involved have since been fired, but outrage over the incident has spread across the country as it is the latest fatal incident involving white police officers and black suspects.
As expected, the story has elicited strong feelings, including some from members of the rock and metal world. Ice-T, who fronts Body Count but also plays a police officer on NBC’s Law & Order: SVU, first responded, “They Killed another Brother … On Video.” He then shared a widely distributed meme showing former NFL star Colin Kaepernick kneeling side-by-side with footage of the officer with his knee to Floyd’s neck, bring back up the point of why Kaepernick’s form of protest was happening in the first place.
Ice-T then added in a series of tweets, “I play a Cop on TV… But I’ll NEVER stop speaking about injustice… EVER. F that. When these things happen you get to see how people REALLY feel… I’ve been speaking out on Police Brutality for over 30yrs… And I’ve heard EVERY excuse.. Get ready…. Now they’re gonna blame it on the Victim. #ThenTheyPointTheFingerAtYou!”
Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick also shared his thoughts on George Floyd’s death, first sharing the words of Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter, who said, “If you’re unbothered or mildly bothered by the 1st knee, but outraged by the 2nd, then, in my father’s words, you’re ‘more devoted to order than to justice.’ And more passionate about an anthem that supposedly symbolizes freedom than you are about a Black man’s freedom to live. And you’re more caring concerning a flag than you are concerning a fellow human being. That’s inhumane, tragic and unjust. That’s dangerous for Black people and deadly for #GeorgeFloyd.”
Skolnick went on to discuss Kaepernick’s original protest, stating, “I know not everyone wants to hear this. I’ve been quiet the last few days, have fun stuff to share but just can’t right now. I know not everyone is a fan of ‘taking the knee,’ a common critique being ‘How dare this guy who was paid x-amount of dollars for sitting out the season have the nerve, he’s not even that good a player, how dare he disrupt the game, not pay fealty to the flag” blah blah blah. Ok. I don’t follow sports closely. Maybe indeed this is a case of ‘right message/wrong messenger.’ But if that’s the case, let me ask you this: Does an imperfect messenger give license to ignore the message? Honestly, I don’t see how we can.”
He continued, “In 2 wks alone, we’ve watched 2 black men die on film. #GeorgeFloyd – who had the cops called for suspicion of a bad check (a bad check?!) – choked to death in plain view of witnesses. Also yesterday (same day): a revolting woman in my city makes a fake ‘damsel in distress’ emergency call to NYPD, in mock tears.. ‘An African-American man is threatening me!!’ when simply asked to leash her dog (yes those ARE the rules in this particular area of the park). He (#ChristianCooper) has expressed regret over the scale of backlash against her but she’s undeserving of his decency after her dog & pony show (her dog, visibly abused, has been taken away, thankfully) & she’s earned all the resulting fallout, imo. This is all in the shadow of jogger #AhmaudArbery, gunned down by non-cops, which led to a cover-up by authorities. Not on film: EMT #BreonnaTaylor, shot dead by police raiding the WRONG HOUSE. This is all in JUST 2 WEEKS. No one is saying ‘all cops are bad,’ or ‘all white people are bad.’ Don’t twist words. All that’s being said is: THIS IS NOT OK.”
Other voices from the rock and metal world have chimed in as well. Sharon Osbourne, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Machine Gun Kelly and plenty more have had their say. See some of the responses below:
Panic! At the Disco
Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong
Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello
Machine Gun Kelly
Sleeping With Sirens’ Kellin Quinn
Bad Omens’ Noah Sebastian
The Story So Far
Stray From the Path
Rockers We’ve Lost in 2020