With the eyes of the world trained on Minneapolis, something practically unheard of was delivered at the Hennepin County Courthouse on April 20th: accountability. The conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on three separate charges for the murder of George Floyd is an extraordinarily rare example in the annals of the American justice system of a police officer being held responsible for the killing of a Black person.
George Floyd’s name has become a powerful rallying cry for millions of people around the world, but for his family no verdict can ever bring their father, uncle, brother and cousin back to them. To the Floyd family — for whom the verdict was, no doubt, an enormous relief — we offer up our prayers. We combine them with our ongoing prayers for all of the families whose heartbreak was not met with this same accountability.
It is a sentiment echoed after the verdict today by George Floyd’s brother Philonise. “All I could think about was Emmett Till. I think about Sandra Bland. I think about Miss Carr with Eric Garner,” he said. “There’s so many people… We have new people being killed. Daunte Wright. I think about Jacob Blake. I think about Philando Castile. All these people, they’re all dead. You’ve got people who live near me, Pamela Turner, she’s dead. We all need justice. And we’re all fighting for one reason and it’s justice for all.”
Tragically, as if on cue, even before the verdict was announced, police in Columbus, Ohio shot and killed Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old Black girl. As another name is added to the litany of Black people killed at the hands of the police, we must ask the question, how long must we pray before any actual justice is delivered?