Justice Served in This Case, But the Need for Systemic Change Remains

By Gordon McHenry, Jr., on April 20, 2021 | In News

While we are relieved that justice has been served in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, we must remember that, when it comes to policing in this country, we are far from living in a just society that is free from systemic and structural racism.

We hope the jury’s decision will bring some measure of solace to George Floyd’s family and perhaps a glimmer of hope of police accountability to Black and brown communities across the nation.

However, the fact that many of us thought a “not guilty” verdict was possible— even when video evidence told the world otherwise—speaks volumes about our expectations when it comes to policing. 

For too long, police have acted with impunity and without accountability for their actions, especially when it comes to Black people. We know from multiple studies that Black drivers are stopped, arrested, mistreated and killed at much higher rates than their white counterparts. 

In the three weeks since the trial of Floyd’s murderer began, more than three people have died at the hands of police officers per day—with Black and Latino people representing more than half of the dead.

Just a few miles from where the trial took place, Daunte Wright was killed by police during a traffic stop. In Chicago, Mexican American Adam Toledo, who was only 12 years old, was also fatally shot by police—while raising his hands. 

These slayings point to a profoundly unjust criminal system that too often favors the police. We will not have justice in this country until we fundamentally transform policing in our society to become a trusted institution rooted in humanity and accountability.


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