ST PAUL, MN - MARCH 19: People march near the Minnesota State Capitol to honor George Floyd on March 19, 2021 in St Paul, Minnesota. This morning Judge Peter Cahill rejected motions for change of venue and continuance by the defense of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of killing George Floyd last May. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Conviction of Derek Chauvin a Measure of Accountability; Police Reform Still Needed

In response to Derek Chauvin being found guilty of murder in the death of George Floyd, Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) released the following statement: 

“Today a jury held Derek Chauvin accountable for actions emblematic of a broken policing system. No one should expect an encounter with law enforcement to end in death. And yet for George Floyd — and far too many others — that’s exactly what happened. Officers using excessive force, whatever the result, must be brought to justice. That’s what happened in the Minneapolis courtroom today,” said Paul O’Brien, Executive Director of AIUSA. 

“In addition to our human rights to equal protection of law, security, and life, we have a right to be free from discrimination when interacting with law enforcement. This outcome is not enough, because George Floyd’s tragic death made all too clear the systemic failures of policing in the U.S. and that Black and brown communities bear the brunt of police violence. The truth is that Derek Chauvin being held accountable for killing George Floyd is the exception — not the rule.” 

“Of course, true justice for George Floyd would require him to still be alive. We saw former Officer Chauvin apply deadly force callously even after George Floyd was killed, ignoring pleas for him to stop.  We can no longer tolerate the lack of accountability when it comes to the killing of Black and brown people,” said Kristina Roth, Senior Advocate for Criminal Justice Programs at AIUSA. “Not only did Derek Chauvin deny George Floyd his human rights, he also showed utter disregard for George Floyd’s humanity.”

“We must acknowledge the racist roots of law enforcement in this country if we are to address the systemic failures of policing and bring about meaningful public safety for those that have been historically overpoliced. This must include shrinking the size and scope of law enforcement in daily life, eliminating qualified immunity that creates a barrier to redress for victims of unlawful policing, demilitarizing law enforcement, and enacting strict limits on the use of force altogether.”