Civil Rights Leader's Insight Into George Floyd Protests

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With so much going on across the country, many fear the message of the protests is getting lost with the looting.

Many are hoping the demonstrations lead to change and longtime professor and activist Dr. Clayborne Carson says it needs to happen in society and policing.

“Even those suspected of violating laws deserve humane treatment,” said Carson, director of the MLK Institute at Stanford. “The kind of treatment that you would give if George Floyd had been a business man in a suit.”

The director was chosen by Coretta Scott King to publish her husband’s speeches and writings.

“Overall I’m very encouraged that people are responding in a massive way,” Carson said, who gave his perspective from a historical sense and personal once.

He was there during the 1965 Watts Riots – with a group of peaceful protesters.

He says police beat him when he tried to help someone who was hurt. In all, 34 people were killed.

“Everything was the word of police versus the word of the person on the ground. And every one of those 34 deaths were ruled a justifiable homicide, even if people were shot in the back who were unarmed,” he said.

Carson added that cell phone cameras have now helped shine a light on injustices.

“I’m thankful [cameras] has raised the consciousness, but it’s sad those reports that were ignored all those years,” he said.

And he believes Dr. King would be encouraged by the diversity in these protests.

“But I think he would express a certain amount of pride in the nation that we’ve come to the point where thousands and thousands of people of all races recognize this is wrong and it has to stop,” Carson said. “And I hope that most Americans focus on that.”

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