A Texas professor is sharing a tale of two forgery arrests in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, saying “white privilege” helped him survive an encounter with police 26 years ago.
Mark McCoy, an anthropology professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, contrasted his experience with Massachusetts cops in 1994 to Floyd’s Memorial Day death while in custody of Minneapolis police.
“George Floyd and I were both arrested for allegedly spending a counterfeit $20 bill,” McCoy, 44, wrote Monday on Facebook. “For George Floyd, a man my age, with two kids, it was a death sentence.”
Floyd, 46, died on Memorial Day after Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes, an incident caught on video that prompted nationwide protests. Chauvin, who was fired a day later, has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death.
But for McCoy, the decades-old run-in was something else altogether.
“For me, it is a story I sometimes tell at parties,” the professor’s post continued. “That, my friends, is White privilege.”
The disparity “hit him like a ton of bricks” once McCoy’s 12-year-old daughter told him Floyd had been arrested by Minneapolis cops on the same charge, the professor told the Dallas Morning News.
McCoy, then 18, spent a night in jail and the charge was later dropped after a six-month probationary period, the newspaper reports.
“I genuinely have told that story of being arrested a lot of time because it’s an interesting story,” McCoy said, adding he had no idea the $20 bill was fake. “I’m kind of a goody two-shoes. At the time, I was the last guy you would guess would run afoul of the law. This could happen to anyone.”
McCoy got the bogus bill out of an ATM, but didn’t realize what happened until “police showed up,” he told KTVT.
“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,’” McCoy recalled to the station. “And he said, ‘Well, I can’t really uncuff you, but I can feed it to you.’”
The officer proceeded to take “bits of chicken” and feed McCoy, he said.
“And he thought it was a riot,” McCoy said. “He laughed, the entire time.”
McCoy, meanwhile, is now showing his gratitude to the “more than 2 million” people who helped make his experience go viral.
“To everyone who shared their own story and kind words of support, thank you,” McCoy tweeted early Wednesday. “To the protesters and the police who took a knee, thank you.”