We, the newly formed Racial Justice Committee of the Litigation Section of the California Lawyers Association, express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. George Floyd and the African American community in Minneapolis where he was blatantly suffocated and killed by a Minneapolis Police Officer. Videos show that Mr. Floyd was handcuffed and he was held in prone position when he was killed by the officer. The videos also show the clear and chilling disregard for Mr. Floyd’s humanity and ultimately his life as he was mercilessly choked by the officer. This killing is unfortunately one more manifestation of the structural and systemic inequity that African Americans face daily, regardless of profession, education, or social class.
We support those law enforcement officers who protect our life and liberty, including by coming forward when their fellow officers break the law. We stand against those law enforcement officers who exemplify the principles of deep seated institutional racism that killed Mr. Trayvon Martin, Mr. Tamir Rice, Mr. Eric Garner, Mr. Walter Scott, Mr. Terence Crutcher, Ms. Sandra Bland, Mr. Botham Jean, Ms. Breonna Taylor, Mr. Philando Castile, Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others. African Americans have been over-policed and under-protected, and this is a human issue that we all need to address.
We feel deep grief over the killings of African Americans without lawful reason and without law enforcement agencies being held accountable. Such inhumane acts divide our nation and undermine the work already done to improve racial equality. Therefore, we are committed to support the cessation of the senseless killings of African Americans without justice and accountability.
It is the collective responsibility of attorneys of all races to be anti-racist so that we can root out this scourge that has harmed our nation for far too long. In the words of Michelle Obama: “It starts with self-examination and listening to those whose lives are different from our own. It ends with justice, compassion, and empathy that manifests in our lives and on our streets.”
Many people of all races have staged peaceful protests to bring attention to the justified terror and rage these unlawful killings evoke. In solidarity with these peaceful efforts, we demand accountability and justice. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated “there comes a time when silence is betrayal.”
Our prayers and thoughts are with all of those impacted by this horrific reality.
Chair of Racial Justice Committee