FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 20, 2021
CONTACT: Mark McCormick, Director of Strategic Communications, 913-490-4113, [email protected]
Brandon Cox, [email protected]
Lynette Kalsnes, [email protected]
MINNEAPOLIS — A jury has found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all charges in the murder of George Floyd.
The following statement can be attributed to Jason Williamson, deputy director of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project:
“George Floyd will never make his way home to play games with his daughter, Gianna. He’ll never go on walks through the park with his beloved fiancée Courteney or play basketball with his brother, Philonise. While today’s verdict is a step forward in the fight for police accountability and may help heal a grieving community, the systems that allowed a police officer to murder Mr. Floyd, ripping him away from his family and the communities that loved him so much, remain fully intact. These are the same systems that resulted in the death of another 20-year-old Black man at the hands of police less than 10 miles from this trial.
“Honoring the lives of George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown and countless other Black lives violently taken at the hands of police means that elected officials, activists, organizations like the ACLU, and regular people must not allow this verdict to lull us into a place of complacency. Instead, we must renew our conviction to create a world where police do not have the opportunity to use violence and harassment to target Black people as police have been doing since their inception as slave patrols created to monitor, control, and oppress Black communities. This new world includes removing police entirely from low-level enforcement and massively reinvesting in the communities that desperately want more for the legacies of their fallen. And we will fight with them to get there.”
The following statement can be attributed to John Gordon, executive director of the ACLU of Minnesota:
“Today, for the first time in state history, a white police officer has been held accountable for killing a Black man. Now, we can finally say George Floyd’s name and make it synonymous not only with grief, anger, and loss over his brutal murder, but with a moment of justice. But to be clear, true justice would mean George Floyd was alive today, with his fiancée, his daughter, and his family.
“While this verdict brings a certain rare form of accountability for police, achieving this outcome for Mr. Floyd is only one step in addressing police abuse of power, disparate treatment, and excessive force against Black and Brown communities. We still must radically change policing in Minnesota and across the country, increase accountability and transparency, and create policies that combat racism in policing.
“The jury's decision to convict Derek Chauvin does not negate the fact that Mr. Floyd’s tragic murder is part of a horrifying local and national pattern of officers using excessive force against people of color. Mr. Floyd was one of more than 5,000 people killed by police since 2015.
“Mr. Floyd should not have died under an officer’s knee — he should still be alive today. So should Daunte Wright, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black people killed by police.
“Our elected officials, activists, communities, and organizations, including the ACLU of Minnesota, must continue to fight for racial justice in Mr. Floyd’s name. We must re-examine our entire system of public safety and public health, and root out the racism that pervades law enforcement. We must prohibit police mistreatment of communities of color, which leads to people being both underserved and overpoliced. We must divert funding from traditional policing toward community-based services, such as crisis teams, so all communities are truly safe. We must remove police from enforcing traffic infractions and low-level offenses. Taking another person’s life is the most extreme action a police officer can take, and new standards for use of force, along with increased accountability and transparency, are needed to ensure that police violence and killings end.
“We join with Mr. Floyd’s family, our community, and our nation in mourning his death. We will never forget to ‘Say His Name.’ Together, we’ll work to ensure that one day, we can remember George Floyd in celebration of the true justice for all achieved in his name.”
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About the ACLU of Kansas: The ACLU of Kansas is the statewide affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU of Kansas is dedicated to preserving and advancing the civil rights and legal freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For more information, visit our website at www.aclukansas.org.