The United States is a society of great inequality, which will not change from the death of black American George Floyd, said Marcus Reubenstein, an independent Australian journalist with more than 20 years of media experience.
The United States has for many years witnessed a great number of race riots, Reubenstein told Xinhua in an interview on Friday.
Since the 1960s there have been more than 150 major riots across American cities, many of them far more deadly than the current unrest, he said while referring to the nationwide protests that broke out in the wake of Floyd’s death.
In 1965, there were the Watts riots in Los Angeles, with 34 people killed. In 1967, 26 died in riots in New Jersey, and in the same year 43 people were killed in riots in Detroit, Reubenstein recalled.
Then in 1992 four Los Angeles policemen who had been filmed beating up a black man named Rodney King were found not guilty of assault by an all white jury. A riot broke out after the verdict was announced and 63 people were killed in six days, he continued.
All of these other major riots began with the white police arresting black men, he said.
“In recent years there have been far more reported shootings of Americans by the police, and for the past six years, on average 1,200 Americans are killed by police, as a proportion of the population of African Americans are killed by police at a much higher rate,” he said.
Reubenstein stressed that the killing of Floyd was a needless tragedy.
Six years ago, another unarmed African American, Eric Garner, was filmed as he died in a chokehold from another white policeman. He was also filmed with his last words being “I can’t breathe!”
“Unfortunately, America is a society of great inequality where poor people don’t have access to proper healthcare, housing, job or education opportunities,” Reubenstein noted.
African Americans are the greatest victims of the U.S. criminal justice system, and they make up 13 percent of the overall population and 38 percent of the prison population, he said.
Statistics show that black people are far more likely to be stopped by police, charged with a crime and imprisoned than any other groups, he added.
Certainly these problems can be solved if the U.S. government and politicians are willing to do, he said, but “the question is will they be solved? The answer is almost certainly no.”
“Nothing is being done to address the economic divide in America, the constitution defends the rights of Americans to carry guns and the justice system has no desire to rehabilitate criminals,” he said.
Reubenstein is the founder and editor-in-chief of APAC News website. Formerly he was a senior correspondent with SBS World News Australia and a news producer with the Australian television network Seven Network.