Today, I watched police bodycam footage of George Floyd's murder because today is the anniversary of George Floyd's death. Last year, millions of Americans watched Derek Chauvin murder George Floyd and still, national legislation has not moved forward. If not for the bold bravery of Darnella Frazer, the person who shared the video of Floyd's death, George Floyd would have been marked as 1 of the 1000 people who die at the hands of police each year.
George Floyd's murder sparked protests around the world calling for substantive change. Numerous discussions on race and systemic racism were held across the country. The House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and sent it to the Senate for vote. Now, however, the Act has been languishing in the Senate as senators argue over language. Numerous lawmakers vowed to have the the Act enacted by today, but they have allowed their arguing to overrun their promises.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act as written would roll back qualified immunity for police officers. This seems to be a major sticking point between liberal and conservative parties. Qualified immunity has often been used as a shield by police officers, meaning that they were rarely held liable for misconduct or improper behavior.
Not to say that there have been no changes. This past year has seen the enactment of numerous state measures addressing police accountability and qualified immunity; however, changes need to be made at every level.
Last year, we passionately acted, marched and demanded justice for George Floyd. A court recently found Derek Chauvin guilty of George Floyd's murder. Derek Chauvin's conviction was the exception not the rule. Justice is not just one conviction. We need rule of law to change in regards to police use of force, such that all officers who kill are held accountable.
What strikes me most about the video is the complete lack of emotion several officers on the scene showed at killing a man. It was as if it was no more or less significant than any other day for these officers. It was just another day at the office.
For Derek Chauvin it was likely similar to any other day. He received 18 previous complaints against him, one of which included him striking a Black child on the head with a flashlight and holding that child down with his knee for 17 minutes. People need to learn that this is not the norm. This is not the way people should be treated. Police should not have complete immunity from their illegal actions.
Please contact your Senators and ask them support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Police in America kill three people a day. Every day this law goes unsigned is another day a police officer can get away with murder.
Managing Director, Valentine's Day Campaign