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George Floyd Murder

Updated: Dec 11, 2022

How some Winnipeggers are speaking out and supporting Black Lives Matter

by Peggy Lam · CBC News· Posted: Jun 03, 2020 2:45 PM CT | Last Updated: June 3, 2020

George Floyd's death has triggered emotional responses across the world and it's no different in Manitoba.

As black Winnipeggers plan a rally to show solidarity with US protests against police brutality, non-black locals are also speaking out.

Floyd, 46, died on May 25 after he was held down by police officers, one with his knee pressed against Floyd's neck.

Derek Chauvin, the officer who pressed his knee into Floyd's neck, was initially charged with third-degree murder. That charge was upgraded to second-degree murder on Wednesday. Prosecutors also charged the other three officers involved — Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. All four were fired last week.

Winnipeg artist Franklin Fernando created a 60-by-90 inch painting depicting the scene of Floyd's death — except in Fernando's painting, Chauvin's face is replaced by a pig and Floyd by the Statue of Liberty.

"I feel very sick, honestly, just seeing the whole thing … how in broad daylight, a white guy, a cop could just kneel on a black man and just kill him on the spot," Fernando said.

"It's just very frustrating. You know, I feel very sad, angry, like, just disgusted by it," he said.

This is not the first incident of police brutality he has seen in the United States.

"People in certain authority can just exercise their power the way they want, whenever they want, and they should be held accountable. I think cops should be held accountable for their actions."

Fernando believes police brutality also happens here in Canada.

As a Winnipegger of Sri Lankan descent, he has experienced racism.

"It was New Year's Eve that I got this email from a person destroying my art piece and calling me the N-word and all kinds of words, you know, and so we're not far."

Fernando doesn't know what to do with his new painting yet. He hopes to use it to fundraise for Black Lives Matter.

"I'm very grateful that I'm able to share a true message and people could kind of get something out of it and think about it," he said.

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