Last Thursday, a routine arrest went awry, sparking off events that threaten the stability of the entire nation. There is no question that what happened to George Floyd was horrific, an affront to a man created in God’s image and the aftermath proves that many believe the incident was racially motivated and that this blemish on society is still a factor in how police treat people of color. In addition to this discussion, the event should also be viewed from a Biblical perspective.
BIBLICAL AND PROPHETIC PERSPECTIVE
This event also has end-of-days implications and Biblical precedents. Rabbi Nachman Kahane, founder of the Center for Kohanim,
“I am very aware and very worried about what is happening in America. People tend to see the present and future based on the past. I see the near future based on the distant future. I know where Hashem (God, literally ‘the name’) is taking us. I see that whatever is happening now is taking us closer to having all the Jews in Israel, a Davidic kingdom, a Third Temple. This is just another step towards that.”
“Until now, Jews in America have felt very comfortable in America. If a person is comfortable, there is no reason to change. Jews should feel very uncomfortable right now and should be thinking about making changes. This is the beginning.”
The rabbi noted that anti-Semitic acts, typically vandalism of synagogues, have spiked during the recent protests.
Rabbi Kahana noted a prophetic precedent for civil unrest as a precursor to redemption.
“I will incite Egyptian against Egyptian: They shall war with each other, Every man with his fellow, City with city And kingdom with kingdom. Egypt shall be drained of spirit, And I will confound its plans; So they will consult the idols and the shades And the ghosts and the familiar spirits. Isaiah 19:1-3
“When the firstborn in Egypt were told they were going to die in the next plague, they revolted and there was a civil war, Egyptian against Egyptian. As we know, the final redemption is going to have elements of the Exodus from Egypt. This is what we are seeing now because otherwise, it does not make sense. Why would people burn and loot their own houses, the businesses they go to every day? Why would white people, these Antifa, come just to stir up trouble? Why would the locals tolerate them?”
Regarding Antifa’s role in the riots, the rabbi noted a historical precedent.
“Before the war, only five percent of Germany belonged to the Nazi Party. That five percent nearly destroyed the entire world. It does not take much hatred to bring about great evil.”
Rabbi Kahana noted that despite its many merits, the US had much to atone for.
“The US did not work to save Jews from the Holocaust, despite knowing that it was happening. They could have saved millions of Jews. And in 1948, while the Arab nations were being supplied with weapons from other nations including Britain, the US imposed an embargo on the shipment of arms to the Jewish state. In the 1973 Yom Kippur War, while Israel was suffering horrific losses, the US held back on sending us military aid they had promised. This all cost us in Jewish blood.”
But Rabbi Kahana noted a greater universal sin that the US has to atone for.
“Every corruption today has its roots in the US. Hollywood has sent out immodesty and lust, making it acceptable, even presenting it as a virtue.”
The rabbi had a difficult message for the black people in America.
“The blacks should connect to the Jews in a positive manner. We also went through slavery for hundreds of years. Were it not for the Torah and attaching ourselves to the service of God, we would be a failed people with failed families, turning to crime and violence, and never succeeding. It is through the Torah that we maintained healthy family structure and succeeded as a ‘light unto the nations.’ Blacks can learn from this how to overcome prejudice and adversity.”
The rabbi concluded with a message to the American Jews:
“Be happy, be healthy, be careful, and most importantly, be here.”
Shortly after 8:00 p.m George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man entered a deli in Powderhorn, a neighborhood south of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. According to a co-owner of Cup Foods, Floyd attempted to use a $20 bill that a staff member suspected as counterfeit. According to police, Floyd was in a nearby car and “appeared to be under the influence”. After approaching the car, one of the officers, Thomas Lane, pulled out his gun and ordered Floyd to show his hands. It is unclear why Officer Lane thought it necessary to draw his gun.
Rabbi Nachman Kahana (Photo: YouTube screenshot / The Temple Institute)
A spokesman for the police department said the officers ordered him to exit the vehicle, at which point he “physically resisted”. In the days following the arrest, these statements appeared to be contradicted by the release of a bystander’s video recording, though one video showed that Officer Derek Chauvin struggled to get Floyd out of the car. Later, the criminal complaint filed in court by the Hennepin County attorney on May 29 stated Floyd “did not voluntarily get in the car and struggled with the officers by intentionally falling down, saying he was not going in the car, and refusing to cooperate. Surveillance footage from a nearby restaurant showed Floyd falling twice while being escorted by the officers.
According to the Minneapolis police, officers “were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress”, and called for an ambulance. No weapons were used in the arrest, according to a statement from the Minneapolis police. Paramedics moved Floyd from the location and attempted chest compressions and other lifesaving measures. Floyd was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead at 9:25.
Part of the arrest was recorded by a bystander and streamed to Facebook Live which quickly went viral. Chauvin is seen on video applying pressure with his knee to Floyd’s neck while his hand is in his pocket. Floyd repeatedly tells Chauvin “Please” and “I can’t breathe”, while also moaning, groaning, and sobbing. After Floyd says “I’m about to die”, Chauvin tells Floyd to relax.
Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. About six minutes into that period, Floyd became non-responsive.
In the wake of Floyd’s death, the two policemen were placed on leave and an investigation was initiated by the Department of Justice and the FBI. Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Although the protests on the first day were initially peaceful, a smaller group of protesters vandalized the 3rd Precinct, breaking a window, and also vandalized police cars. This quickly escalated and in the following days, an estimated 255 businesses across the Twin Cities region had been vandalized or entirely destroyed.
Protests against police brutality and the death of George Floyd sprang up in more than 75 cities, spreading to cities around the world. Curfews were imposed in nearly 40 cities, but people largely ignored them. Riot police clashed with civilians in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles, using tear gas and pepper bullets to disperse the crowds. Police vehicles were set on fire and shops were looted in several cities.5,000 National Guard troops were activated in 15 states. Crowds gathered near the White House, lighting fires and throwing stones at policemen. Hundreds of people have been arrested since the protests began.