Leading Civil Rights Group Welcomes Verdict for Trial of Derek Chauvin
National Black Justice Coalition Says America Was On Trial in Chauvin’s Case
CONTACT: Anna Zuccaro | email@example.com
MINNESOTA — Statement from David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, a leading civil rights organization, on police officer Derek Chauvin being found guilty on all charges for the murder of George Floyd:
“Today’s verdict is not about justice. Justice would be George Floyd being here to testify to his experience. Justice, as non-Black people know it, is not possible for Black people in America.
“Today’s verdict is a response to the question of whether Black Lives Matter in America. The United States, and the white supremacist regime that the police in this country represent, was on trial.
“Thankfully today, a jury affirmed that George Floyd’s life matters. Still, we must continue to guard our joy, pray for those most impacted, and remain focused on the work required to ensure that all of our Black Lives Matter. What we need is structural change.
“It is critical that as we celebrate a murderer being held accountable for taking the life of an innocent Black man that we do not lose sight of the work that was required to get to this moment. It says a lot about this country that the possibility of breathing as a Black man without fear of having our lives stolen is only possible when we pursue the necessary reforms to policy and practices that honor all Black lives.
“We all witnessed Derek Chauvin murder George Floyd. Gaslighting is having to sit through a trial where George Floyd was blamed for his death in spite of this fact. Let the legacy of this trial provide us with opportunities to deal with the root causes that led to this moment – that Derek Chauvin thought it was appropriate to engage in lethal conduct – because he had no fear of his actions. We must do better to hold police accountable and that includes ending qualified immunity for police officers.
“Government leaders are responding to this moment by spending millions of dollars on more police, military style weapons, barricades and fencing as if preparing to go to war with the community rather than prioritizing investments in healing, restorative justice, and repair. This moment should be one where we recommit to universal principles of equality and expecting fair treatment. Each of us should want what has happened to George Floyd and those who knew and loved him, and so many other Black lives that have been stolen by state sanctioned actors, to never happen to anyone. Let us work to ensure we don’t revisit this moment again.”
“This verdict does not change what many of us know to be true: a racist, anti-Black, unjust system can never deliver justice for our people. And it never kept us safe as it was not designed to. George Floyd should be here. We mourn as his family mourns, and support their efforts to find solace and accountability with this verdict. Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor and so many other members of our beautifully diverse community deserve to be here too. While we cannot bring them back we can commit to new and meaningful ways to keep our Black bodies and our communities safe.”