Statement of Bilal Dabir Sekou, PhD., Chair of the Common Cause in Connecticut Advisory Board and Cheri Quickmire, Executive Director of Common Cause in Connecticut
Tonight’s verdicts were a step toward police accountability. But they don’t change the fact of George Floyd’s death. They don’t change the horrifying circumstances of his death.
Tonight’s verdicts don’t provide any measure of justice for the families of so many other BIPOC people who have been killed by police.
Racism in policing is a systemic problem. A 2018 report by The Sentencing Project found that Blacks “are more likely than white Americans to be arrested; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, they are more likely to experience lengthy prison sentences.”
Blacks are also more likely to be killed by police. One Florida newspaper documented all the state’s police shootings over a six-year period. Unarmed Black people were nearly eight times as likely to be shot by police than whites. More than half of the people shot by police died.
Having a police officer held accountable is heartbreakingly rare.
We must do better. Our communities, our children deserve better.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would be a step toward creating real justice, for people of all races, languages and economic circumstances. It has been passed by the US House; but it needs to be strengthened by the US Senate and then passed into law.
At the state and local level, we need to invest in Black and Brown communities. Our children need to know that their lives have value, and they need to be able to have faith in their futures.
Today’s verdict was accountability. Tomorrow needs to be about justice.
If we had true justice now, George Floyd would still be alive. We need to fix the system so no other family has to endure the grief and trauma of a police killing.