May 27, 2020, New York – In response to the killing of another unarmed Black man by the hands of police, Vince Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, issued the following statement:
George Floyd should be alive today.
Instead, George Floyd is dead.
With a knee on his neck for roughly 10 minutes, a handcuffed George Floyd begged for his life, while bystanders screamed for mercy. He was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer in broad daylight.
We have been here before. Eric Garner. Sandra Bland. Philando Castile. Freddie Gray. Terence Crutcher. Alton Sterling. Walter Scott. Tamir Rice. Michael Brown. Breonna Taylor. And now George Floyd.
The wanton killing of Black human beings by police offends our basic assumptions about humanity, just as the well-worn response of regret and the occasional apology offends our basic assumptions about justice. We should all be personally offended, and we should demand an end to the killing. Their lives mattered.
We are done dying. The killings must stop. We are tired of the grief and rage that continue to bubble up and explode onto a landscape barren of justice and accountability. We are tired of the hashtags. We are tired of putting our hands up just to save our own lives and we are tired of throwing our hands up in despair when justice fails us yet again. We are tired of living and dying in a country that takes great pride in its punitive reflex. George Floyd is dead, but we cannot let his murder be in vain. Racism in America runs deep, but the expectation for justice must run deeper. We must use this moment to move beyond the national debate over how Black behavior generates deadly police conduct, and toward a clear understanding of how our law enforcement investment generates a Black body count. Only in this way will we begin to address our country’s entrenched history of racism, white supremacy, and the way the law actually supports them.
The Center for Constitutional Rights demands justice for George Floyd. We demand a thorough investigation and criminal charges for the officer who killed George Floyd and those who participated or silently stood by, unmoved by the murder. Their firing was an appropriate first step, but it is not enough. Not even close. We are demanding prosecution. We are demanding a fair trial. We are demanding they lose their pensions. We are demanding they never work as police officers again. We demand accountability for what was done to George Floyd.
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.