You Know George Floyd; You Don’t Know Tony Timpa
In 2016, Tony Timpa called Dallas police for help. He suffered from mental illness and had been off his medication and had taken drugs. He was at a store when he contacted police and the store security had him in handcuffs by the time police arrived.
Unlike George Floyd, who had a criminal record going back to 1992, when he first entered prison, Tony Timpa did not have a criminal record and was simply a person with mental health challenges. When police arrived, they restrained Timpa on the ground and an officer put a knee in the middle of Timpa’s back, holding him to the ground. Timpa pleaded with the officers that they were going to kill him, since he could not breathe. The officers joked about Timpa and his situation until he did stop breathing. When the ambulance arrived, the paramedic told the officers that Timpa was dead.
Although there was a brief investigation and brief paid suspension of the officers, all returned to work and none were prosecuted. As a matter of fact, although Timpa’s death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner, the DA decided not to press charges. Think about how similar this case is to George Floyd but how different the outcome was. There were no protests or riots in 2016 resulting from Timpa’s death at the hands of police. Most people don’t even know his name, although every person living in America, and around the world, knows the name of George Floyd.
So, why the enormous difference in these two similar cases? Tony Timpa was white. What does real systemic racism look like? You didn’t know who Tony Timpa was until now.