April 20, 2021, New York – In response to the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd moments after the Columbus police murder of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:
Despite today’s guilty verdict, true justice for George Floyd and the other Black lives snuffed out by police has yet to be done. The key questions are whether Black people are safer from police violence because of this verdict? Can Black communities in Minneapolis, or anywhere in the country, breathe easier in light of this verdict? Will the next Black person confronted by police feel safer? Will they be safer? Would Daunte Wright be alive if this verdict had come a few weeks earlier? The answer is no.
Derek Chauvin will now serve a penalty for acts deemed exceptional. But his behavior was not exceptional, and treating George Floyd’s murder as a consequence of extraordinary acts neither protects Black people nor captures the unreformable depravity of our system of policing. His murder is the predictable outcome of policing’s origin in slave patrols and the ongoing, constant threat to Black people of arrest, incarceration, violence, and death.
Whatever solace comes from Chauvin’s conviction, as a society we must not treat it as justice. Black people will not be safe from police violence until white supremacy itself is on trial, until police forces are defunded and demilitarized, and until resources are reinvested in the health, safety, and thriving of Black communities.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.