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Group Of White Iowa Teens Hit With Backlash For Filming Video Mocking George Floyd’s Death

Tianna Williams/Facebook

It’s pretty safe to say, for those who have explored TikTok, there’s a lot of good content out there: craft ideas, body positivity, life hacks, dance challenges, and more.

But just like anything else, there has to be a bad egg who tries to ruin it for everybody else from time to time.

A couple of teens from Assumption High School in Davenport, Iowa, are among the latest culprits, after a video they created of a distasteful reenactment of George Floyd’s death surfaced on social media.

You can watch the video here:

The video is only 9 seconds long but features multiple problematic points surrounding George Floyd’s death.

The song played in the background is “Mama Cry” by YNW Melly.

The lyrics used were highly reminiscent of Floyd calling out for his mother in his final moments. 

“Mama, please don’t you cry. I’m sorry.”

“I just caught some time; I’ll be home soon.”

One of the students from Assumption High School was depicted lying on the floor, being pinned, and lip-syncing the lyrics of the song with a smile on his face.

The video then switched views to show the pinned student, two students standing over him, and another student sitting to the side, looking disinterested.

The final clip of the video, quite jarringly, showed two of the students dancing and laughing, clearly making light of the situation they had just depicted.

The video was originally shared on TikTok by @the.official.tiger.woods, who had no more than 20 followers. But when Tianna Williams, a student from a neighboring high school, came across the video, she felt the need to share the video to Facebook where it would receive proper attention.

When posting the video, Williams stated: 

“Here is a video of Assumption High School’s students mocking a black man’s death that was caused by police brutality. This is so sad how they just think a man’s life being taken is a joke.”

“The one with the foot on the back is sophomore Keaton Thissen. The one in glasses is sophomore Nick Boldt. The one in the beginning of the video is sophomore Bryan Beldock.”

“There is no excuse for this behavior as they are 15 [and] 16 years old. The school has been getting threats and students are ashamed and scared to go to school.”

“I really hope action can be taken about this very offensive video. Please repost.” 

Since Williams shared the video, it has been shared widely by members of the Davenport community and currently has nearly 500 comments on Williams’ post alone.

Tianna Williams/Facebook
Tianna Williams/Facebook
Tianna Williams/Facebook

In response to the attention the video received, the Assumption High School Administration posted a statement on their Facebook page, emphasizing diversity and inclusivity.

The statement read in part: 

“We as a school try to teach our youth to celebrate the diversity within our own community and the broader community. Understanding the lives of others is the best way to truly understand ourselves. Our words and actions affect others. Sometimes they cause pain. We realize there is more work to do.”

Some members of the community found this to be an ineffective blanket statement at best, especially considering the students involved only received Saturday school as a punishment.

Assumption High School Davenport, IA/Facebook
Assumption High School Davenport, IA/Facebook
Assumption High School Davenport, IA/Facebook
Assumption High School Davenport, IA/Facebook

It’s disheartening to see students treating a tragic death this way, and perhaps even more tragic to see how it’s being handled. Instead of being a teachable moment, it seems it’s easier for the school to treat this like every other offense that calls for a Saturday school or detention before putting it behind them.

McKenzie Lynn Tozan

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.