Crowds in Minneapolis respond to the verdict
On May 25, 2020, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on George Floyd’s neck until he died – and yesterday a jury found chauvin guilty of three counts: second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.
This is big news as police officers have not historically been held responsible for killing black men, women and children. President Biden called it a “far too rare” move to bring “basic accountability” to black Americans: “It was a murder in the daylight and it tore the world’s blinders off.”
And one reason people could see Floyd’s murder so clearly was because then 17-year-old Darnella Frazier, who was getting snacks with her nine-year-old cousin, stood on the sidewalk and filmed everything. Tweets journalist Michele Norris: “Can we all sing the praises of Darnella Frazier, who had the presence of mind to film this video that made such a difference in this case, and now has to live with the memories that were left for the rest will her years remain by her side? “
When it comes to judgment, the important word here is accountability guilt – not justice. Justice would be if George Floyd were alive today, playing with his six-year-old daughter, and if the entire system were overhauled to serve and protect everyone fairly in the United States.
“While today’s ruling is a small win to police accountability and can help heal a grieving community, what remains are the systems that allowed George to be murdered – ripping him out of his family and the communities that made him so very loved -, completely intact, “says the ACLU.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez agrees: “That a family had to lose a son, a brother and a father; That a teenage girl had to film and post a murder, that millions across the country had to organize and march for George Floyd to be seen and appreciated, is no justice. And that ruling is not a substitute for a change in policy. “
Then, yesterday afternoon, when the jury found Derek Chauvin guilty of murder, a police officer shot and killed 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio. How crystal clear is it that the system has to change?
What can we do now? Call your senators at 202-499-6085 and tell them they need to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (FYI). You will likely leave a voicemail. (The full bill is explained here.) Let’s send a wave of phone calls from this community calling for action. Are you going to call below and then leave a comment?
And of course take care of yourselves. Send so much love especially to our black readers and stand with you today and always. xo
George Floyd with his daughter
PS The Race Matters column and “how I feel now as a black woman.”
(Top photo by Alex Kent / NYMag.)