On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, an African-American man, died in Powderhorn, a neighborhood south of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Millions around the world witnessed Floyd who was handcuffed, lying face down on a city street during an arrest as Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, kept his knee on the right side of Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
The incident was captured on video and shared around the world to millions who empathized during that moment where 2 minutes and 53 seconds of that time occurred after Floyd became unresponsive.
The country responded with sadness, anger and hurt, wanting their voice to be heard.
While peaceful protests were organized successfully, acts of violence also hit communities due to violent protesting, rioting and violence.
During a Facebook Live protest viewing provided by Fox 16 Sunday, an Arkansas County woman expressed her point of view with comments stating:
“I will pay for the ship to put all your black assets on!! Even give each of you a 20 for a chicken leg and some watermelon.”
Other comments stated by the women cursed people of color, while other locals hopped on the bandwagon.
Though Freedom of Expression is protected by the First Amendment, Facebook states you may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.
The Arkansas County woman’s comments continued in a manner that not only caught the attention of local residents that knew her but also her employer.
According to Lumber One Home Center of Stuttgart, they were made aware early Monday morning that an employee had expressed racist sentiments on Facebook.
“This employee was terminated effective immediately this morning,” said Adam Wells, President of Lumber One Home Center of Stuttgart. “Lumber One does not typically comment on personnel matters but due to the appalling nature of comments made, it is important for us to make clear our position.”
In the statement, Wells makes clear that Lumber One strongly condemns any and all forms of racism, whether spoken or unspoken.
“We will never tolerate hate, ignorance or prejudice to be associated with our company and employees,” said Wells. “We stand with everyone who was hurt and outraged by this person’s Facebook post.”
Many residents who knew her personally were appalled by her comments and others immediately traced who she was and contacted her employer to expose her behavior.
“I woke up this morning to some texts saying I needed to look at this person’s Facebook and of course, my jaw dropped,” said Wells who expressed embarrassment. “I terminated her myself . It’s very important to push back hate and that is what this was.”
Though the opinion of one doesn’t represent the mind frame of others, residents of color now feel a sense of uneasiness.
“I’m not going to lie, I didn’t go to work this morning because all I work with is white people and I felt uncomfortable,” said a Stuttgart resident of color who wanted to remain anonymous.
Wells said the entire ordeal has hurt him and even though an apology won’t change what happened, he knows it is a step in the right direction.
“It drives me to tears that somebody who would walk in our door every day and service our customers, feel that way,” said Wells who expressed during this time people will reveal their true selves. “We find this hurtful and offensive. Unacceptable is not strong enough for words.”