STILLWATER -- The past week in America has been filled with tragedy and heartache following the death of George Floyd. Mike Boynton, the only African-American coach on the Oklahoma State campus, took to Twitter Friday afternoon to release a statement on the death of Floyd and on the national topic of race.
Floyd died on Monday after being arrested by the Minneapolis police department and three of the four officers involved had him pinned to the pavement with one having his knee on Floyd's neck for roughly nine minutes.
During that time, you could clearly hear in the video recorded by bystanders Floyd repeatedly telling the officers that he could not breathe.
The four officers involved have since been fired and the officer that pinned Floyd to the ground by his neck, Derek Chauvin, was reportedly arrested on Friday and charged with third-degree murder, as well as manslaughter.
The incident is just one of multiple instances over the past few years of police officers killing a black man, one that has incited both peaceful protests and violent riots over the past few days across the nation.
In the statement Boynton released, he addresses the death of George Floyd, but also being a black man in America and raising his children, while also having the peace of mind that they'll return home safely at the end of the day.
"I've been struggling with the latest unnecessary death of a brother in the streets of our country," Boynton stated in his letter. "It's incomprehensible to me how someone could show such a lack of care for another person. Even worse ... physically drive a man, who he was charged with protecting, to his death. We must seek fair justice for George Floyd and his family as well as the countless others who have experienced such tragedies.
We must also fight for a change in the system that contributes to this happening so often. I've had my own frightening experience with law enforcement, but that is for another day. I pray we can understand each other better and fear each other less. Black people are humans, we bleed red blood like everyone else. I have a 7-year old son. I want to have the same level of comfort and confidence that when he leaves my house, that he will return safely like every other parent wants and should have. However, the thought of what might happen to him, because of perceived fear, is pretty unnerving. I teach him, and I try myself to live by 4 basic principles.
- Trust God fully
- Treat ALL people the right way (the way I want to be treated)
- Work as hard as I am capable of
- Smile often and enjoy life
"I am not saying I have all or any of the answers, or that my way is the way for everyone. I do, however, want to be a part of the conversation to help create salutations. We have come so far, but there is obviously a lot more to be done. Peace and Love. Coach Mike."