Minnesota is simultaneously recovering and reeling from both the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, and the recent killing of Daunte Wright, another Black man killed by law enforcement in our state. While the guilty verdict puts us on the path towards accountability for former officer Chauvin, true justice for George Floyd is a path we’re still on.
I want to lift up the words of my colleagues in the People of Color and Indigenous Caucus, who are leading the charge for meaningful change in Minnesota.
“This is not a joyful moment. As we watched the trial and relived the desperate final moments of a man's life and the cruelty of one who is supposed to protect, we were reminded that we do not live in a just society. The finding of guilt in the actions of an officer not only condemns the actions of that man, but our society and public safety system as a whole. While the verdict is guilty, we demand that Derek Chauvin receive the maximum sentence for his crime.
“Justice cannot stop at punishment, it must continue in everything we do to ensure a tragedy like this never happens again. We have the opportunity to create a just society, this verdict has planted the seed of justice in tenuous soil polluted by years of oppression and injustice. It is now up to us, our white colleagues, and all Minnesotans who value human life to nurture this seed so that it may grow into true justice.
“Amongst the chaos of this past year, there are two truths that will stick with us for the rest of our lives and for generations to come. The first; George Floyd should still be alive. The second; George Floyd has changed the world. How exactly the world has been changed remains in our hands. The POCI Caucus will work to create a world where Black Lives Matter, where every life is sacred, where every person feels safe and secure, and where Black, Brown, and Indigenous children can live joyfully free from the oppression of our unjust society.
“Lastly, we extend our deepest sympathies to George Floyd’s friends and family. You lost a loved one in a horrific way and your pain was displayed to the world. No one should have to go through what you did. Your courage and perseverance is an inspiration, and we will hold you in our hearts always.”
Public Safety for ALL Minnesotans
One of the key ways we can bring about meaningful change is through the measures we passed in the House Public Safety, Judiciary, and Civil Law Budget last night. No matter what you look like or where you’re from, our state should be a safe place for you and your family. Our proposal contains the following:
Allowing local governments to establish civilian oversight councils
Enhancing training and requiring the development of new model policies
Supporting community organizations working to prevent crime
Issuing body cameras and prohibiting altering, destroying, or withholding the footage
Prohibiting white supremacists from become police officers
Limiting the use of no-knock warrants
Strengthening the police officer misconduct database and building a more effective early warning system to identify bad officers and keep them off the streets
Limiting police officers’ authority to stop or detain drivers for certain violations
These proposals face an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Minnesota Senate, where not a single hearing on police accountability measures or reform has taken place this session. I hope you’ll join me in calling on Senate Republicans to come to the table to help enact meaningful change so we can build a more safe and inclusive Minnesota.