Cop is Convicted -- Convict the System Too

Statement on Guilty Verdict for Murderer of George Floyd

Yes, the jury found Derek Chauvin guilty on all three charges. That verdict was an admission that George Floyd’s life mattered. But it wasn’t justice.

Justice would mean that the whole system was put on trial – as well as the cop that the system empowered to kill people.

Justice would mean true accountability for all the lives taken before George Floyd had the breath crushed out of him: Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Stephon Clark, Breonna Taylor – thousands more people like this have been killed over the years.

Justice would mean that no more people would be killed by cops. But even as the trial was going on, when police were supposed to be on their best behavior, cops continued to kill. More names were added to the list of those we remember: Daunte Wright, 20 years old, Adam Toledo, 13 years old, Ma’Khia Bryant, 16 years old.

One cop was put on trial this time because of the demonstrations that exploded last May and June. But this trial doesn’t mean that “justice” exists. This trial only means that one man was put up to take the fall for what the whole system is guilty of: using violence against the population, and out of all proportion, against the black population.

All those people who went out to protest, all those people who organized demonstrations, the teenager who filmed the killing of George Floyd while police ordered bystanders to step back – everyone of them knows that their actions forced what hardly ever happens. Not only was a murdering cop put on trial; he was convicted.

But that has happened before. Twenty-eight years ago, two cops were convicted in Detroit in the killing of a black factory worker, Malice Green. That verdict didn’t prevent more cops from killing more working people. Not in Detroit, not any place else.

The problem is not just one cop, not just one murder, not even the whole list of murders. Our focus has to be put on the system that requires this kind of violence.

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