A Message from our Executive Director Regarding the Derek Chauvin Verdict

Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Let us say his name: George Floyd. He should still be alive today. A beautiful humxn, a mother’s son, and a friend to many. No verdict can ever replace the precious life that was lost due to Derek Chauvin’s lack of humxnity and gross abuse of police power. True justice would be George Floyd being at home with his family today.

Even as we breathe a sigh of relief that there will be some accountability in this one case, we cannot fully exhale: racism and brutality in policing are alive and well. The recent deaths of Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo, the unresolved case of Breonna Taylor, and others, are stark reminders that we have much more work to do. And in our own state there are many names we must continue to say.  Over 100 Washingtonians have been killed by police since the passage of I-940, which mandated de-escalation and mental health crisis training.

There is a difference between accountability and justice. To secure justice, we need systemic change that will prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future. In Washington state we are fighting for a radically changed approach to public safety. In our blog series we have been examining the concept of divestment from policing budgets and reinvestment into communities and are illuminating the inequities in our current system of policing. In this year’s legislative session, working in collaboration with families of people killed by police, we championed several bills aimed toward transforming policing. Legislation has passed both chambers that will eliminate or restrict many of the practices and equipment that have fueled militarized policing, and emphasizes de-escalation over confrontation so that everyone has a better chance of going home after an encounter with the police. We call on Gov. Inslee to sign these bills into law.

We are grateful for a measure of accountability in the case of George Floyd’s murder. Even as we mark this moment, we re-dedicate ourselves to a world where Black, Indigenous and communities of color do not have to fear death at the hands of police. We re-dedicate ourselves to a world where community defines public safety and all our systems work together equitably for the safety of all.

In Solidarity,
Michele Storms
Executive Director
ACLU of Washington