When former police officer Derek Chauvin applied the force of his weight to George Floyd’s neck for nine and a half minutes, murdering him in full view of a crowd recording the heinous incident on their cell phones, he sent a message that Floyd’s life didn’t matter.
After too many instances where law enforcement avoided consequences, we applaud this court, the jury and the capable prosecutors who presented an air tight case. The message from Hennepin County is a clear rebuke of that hideous message from Chauvin. Police officers across the country today are on notice that excessive force will not be tolerated. They are not above the law.
As important as this conviction is, one case will not change the deep, systemic problems present across our nation’s 18,000 police departments. Sweeping police reform at the federal, state, and local levels is mandatory. We must have stronger use of force standards, increased transparency, an expanded ability to revoke the certification of officers, and community oversight. We can look to states like Maryland, Washington, and Illinois that have been leaders in the march to reform.
Our hearts are with George Floyd’s family, his friends, and the greater community of Minneapolis. While they have received a small measure of accountability, they will not receive true justice unless this moment results in serious reform. We hope that as this wrenching year ends, the nation will unite behind a call for accountable policing that upholds its promise to protect and serve everyone.