The guilty verdict rendered by the jury in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd in all three counts is a step forward for racial justice. The trial exposed the world again to the public killing of a Black man by a white police officer, a scene we see again and again across the United States.
This is a step forward in acknowledging the truth—the truth that Black and brown people are disproportionately the victims of police violence in the United States.
A guilty verdict of the police who killed George Floyd is a step forward in acknowledging the truth—the truth that Black and brown people are disproportionately the victims of police violence in the United States.
It is rare that a police officer is brought to justice and convicted. Police and law enforcement have protections of qualified immunity and other political clout that shields officers who break the law from accountability for their actions. They can use restraints and no-knock warrants, the action by police that led to the murder of Breonna Taylor. The guilty verdicts for Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd is a step toward accountability by police for their excessive use of force, even for murder.
Full justice for George Floyd or Breonna Taylor, Adam Toledo, DaunteWright, Atatiana Jefferson, Tamir Rice, Rayshard Brooks, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner and so many more victims of police shootings would mean these sons and daughters would be alive today, not the victims of police violence.
It was not only Derek Chauvin who was on trial in Minneapolis. The underlying foundation of white supremacy that permitted Chauvin and other police officers to use deadly force against Black and brown people is shaken. That foundation of white supremacy which allows racism to continue to flourish in health care, education, and housing systems must be exposed and remedied just as we must expose and remedy the system of justice in this country.
Full justice for George Floyd and so many more victims of police shootings would mean these sons and daughters would be alive today, not the victims of police violence.
That is happening in local communities that are organizing and activating for changes to policing and it is happening at the federal level with the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. As George Floyd’s family and attorneys, along with Keith Ellison, Attorney General of MN and President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris all stated in their response to the verdict, Senate passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is the next step in moving forward on national standards for policing.
Reform of the justice system won’t happen with a single bill or a single verdict, but it will happen with the powerful leadership of the Black community and the actions that all of us can take. Asking our senators to fully support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is one thing we can all do.
As a Quaker organization, we are committed to helping create a society free of racism. Such commitment to full equality also lies within every one of us to act with love and for justice. The guilty verdict gives us hope that justice in this country is possible.