DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – George Floyd’s mistreatment and death at the hands of Minneapolis Police triggered outrage, but a minor part of Floyd’s arrest hit home with an SMU associate archeology professor.
Mark McCoy’s post on Twitter about being treated so much differently for an identical crime has been shared and commented on by more than a million people.
McCoy, 44, said in the tweet, “George Floyd and I were both arrested for allegedly spending a counterfeit $20 bill. For George Floyd, a man my age, with two kids, it was a death sentence. For me, it is a story I sometimes tell at parties. That, my friends, is White privilege.”
George Floyd and I were both arrested for allegedly spending a counterfeit $20 bill. For George Floyd, a man my age, with two kids, it was a death sentence. For me, it is a story I sometimes tell at parties. That, my friends, is White privilege.
— Mark D. McCoy (@m_d_mccoy) June 1, 2020
What prompted the tweet?
“My wife was adding details that I hadn’t read, and our 12-year-old daughter said, ‘you know he was arrested for allegedly spending a counterfeit $20 bill’ and that hit me like a ton of bricks.”
McCoy said 25 years ago, he was a teenager who unknowingly passed a counterfeit $20 bill he got out of an ATM to buy fast food.
“I’m very much a goody, goody, you know, Eagle Scout altar boy, very big nerd,” he said. “The first time I realized that I had spent the $20 bill was, that was fake was when the police showed up.”
McCoy was arrested.
He says he has a new perspective on his experience with police officers after seeing what Floyd went through.
“I have this distinct memory of being handcuffed and talking to the police officer who had arrested me and said, ‘Well, look, I haven’t eaten my dinner right, you guys picked me up before I could finish’. And he said, ‘Well, I can’t really uncuff you, but I can feed it to you.’ And so he took bits of chicken and fed me before, and he thought it was a riot, he laughed, the entire time.”
He believes what happened to him was the result of what’s known as white privilege.
“I think it really crystallized it in a way that it sat with me. You know, for that entire morning, and I did think, you know, this is something that if you’re African American in this country. It sits with you every time it happens. this is not a unique experience in America, it’s just a unique experience for me..”