Today a jury in Minneapolis found the former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three counts of murder and manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd. Below are quotes and analysis from members of the Truman National Security Project:
Rikkia Ramsey, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Truman National Security Project | Truman Center for National Policy: “The trial, the murder of George Floyd, and of countless others known and unknown, are a stark reminder of America’s lingering systemic racism. This ugly stain on America’s past and present not only flies in the face of American values, it threatens our nation’s security.”
D’Juan Wilcher, Senior VP, Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Associated Bank; Truman Defense Council: "As the head of DEI for an organization that has a large footprint in Minnesota, I have been on edge about this trial. When the verdict was reached, I was immediately anxious and made sure to cancel engagements for the rest of the day. I prepared for the worst, which in this case has typically been what is to be expected. As my heart rate soared and I paced back and forth through the verdict, I came to tears and wrestled with conflicting emotions of elation, vindication, anger, sadness and anxiety. I am glad that Derek Chauvin has been charged; he should be. I stand on guard, in anticipation for what this means going forward. I choose to proceed with cautious optimism that the majority of our country’s citizens have drawn a line and we can push for equal justice under the law."
Mariano Ariel Corcilli, President, The Veterans Bar Association; Attorney at Law; Truman Security Fellow: "I think that moving forward, we (as a society) have to address qualified immunity. Unfortunately, it is unknown how may thousands of cases of police brutality go unnoticed by most of society — it happens so much that police more often than not have a feeling of being untouchable — a feeling that is reinforced by the law of qualified immunity that kind of makes them untouchable."
Kehinde A. Togun, Senior Director, Policy and Government Relations, Humanity United; Truman Security Fellow: “While Derek Chauvin was on trial for the murder of George Floyd, the soul of our nation was also on trial. I welcome this conviction but know that there is still work to do. Every day I live in fear that my three year old son will grow up in a country that sees his life as expendable and a routine traffic stop can result in state-sponsored murder simply because he's a Black boy. Too many of us live with this fear. So beyond this verdict, justice for George Floyd will require our nation to finally deal with the scourge of systemic racism and address the impunity that law enforcement has enjoyed for far too long.”
Adom Cooper, Operations Planning Specialist, High-Threat Programs (Bureau of Diplomatic Security), U.S Department of State; Truman Security Fellow: “The trial of Derek Chauvin is another reminder of SCOTUS Justice Taney's words in the majority opinion of the Dred Scott case. 'The question before us is, whether the class of persons described in the plea in abatement compose a portion of this people, and are constituent members of this sovereignty? We think they are not, and that they are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word 'citizens' in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States.' Folks who look like me were never intended to be included in U.S. legal, social, and political landscapes. The result of the trial changes nothing about the legacy and power of Taney's words and how they continue to dictate how Black bodies are viewed, treated, and discussed. More as property and less than human.”
Ameshia Cross, Political Commentator and Analyst; Truman Political Partner: “The Derek Chauvin trial verdict sent Shockwaves across America, it marked the first time a police officer was held accountable to the fullest extent of the law for murdering an unarmed Black person.
This is a watershed moment that honestly many in the Black community didn't see possible because for generations police officers have abused Black victims with impunity. In fact in 99% of cases officers aren't even charged much less convicted. But though the Chauvin verdict is a victory it's not a full scale culture shift in policing and shouldn't be viewed that way. Accountability was shown, justice wasn't. In a just society a Black victim isn't on trial for his own murder. A Black victim doesn't have to legitimize his humanity to be seen as worthy of breathing.
America has for far too long denied justice to Blacks. George Floyd should not have lost his life, he shouldn't have been seen as a threat just because of his skin color. And Black Americans should enjoy the same rights, freedoms and protections that whites do. We are far from that but today in the memory of George Floyd I rejoice not because our work is done but because officers will finally see a sign that they too can be held accountable and that Black lives really do matter.”
Truman's members offered these comments in their personal capacities, and not in any official roles.