Statement Regarding the Murder of George Floyd
(Brooklyn, NY) – May 29, 2020 – On Monday, in Minneapolis, four police officers arrested George Floyd, an African American man, for a nonviolent offense. After the man was handcuffed and subdued, two officers held him down, while a third, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck for nine minutes while the victim pleaded for his life, gasping “I can’t breathe.” A fourth officer stood guard. Several videos have since been released documenting the murder.
Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte has issued the following statement surrounding the events in Minneapolis this week:
George Floyd is a casualty of racial profiling by police. He died because of a systemic injustice; an injustice that is as pervasive in New York as it is in Minneapolis.
People will say, “but he was resisting.” We have heard this every time a black person dies at the hands of law enforcement. We have heard the last words of Eric Garner, the New Yorker killed by police in 2014, uttered by Floyd as he died, words that have also been adopted by protesters nationwide. We have waited and waited, as case after case of unarmed black civilians being killed unlawfully by police officers pass us by. We remember Sandra Bland, Alton Sterling, Freddie Gray and so many others. We have waited for videos to be released and for witnesses to come forward, and for the “truth” to come out.
The truth is here. This week, a black man was murdered in public by the very people charged with carrying out justice and keeping our communities safe. The nation is reeling from the trauma of his death. Parents are asking how they can keep their kids safe when the offenders are the people wearing a badge and they are not held accountable for their actions.
We know that at least two of the officers involved in the murder of Floyd had previously been accused of police brutality while on duty. Over his career, Officer Chauvin was involved in several police-involved shootings where the victim was a person of color. Officer Tou Thao, also at the scene of Floyd’s murder, was accused of punching a handcuffed black man. The related civil case settled out of court.
People across America are asking, what can we do? In New York last night, more than 70 people were arrested at a protest for Floyd. Policymakers, like myself, are being called on to respond.
I have introduced a bill, together with state Senator Brian A. Benjamin, (#A04615A
) to end racial profiling by increasing data collection and reporting standards for law enforcement agencies in New York state. This bill would also allow any victim of racial or ethnic profiling, or the attorney general, to bring an action for damages, or for injunctive relief, to stop the agencies’ improper actions. Current state law does not provide for an individual cause of action for acts of racial profiling.
I believe this legislation is an important step toward putting an end to police brutality and the racial profiling of black and brown people by those sworn to protect us all.
Join me in calling on our legislators in New York, and across the country, to pass legislation that will demand accountability from the police.
We need to stop police brutality and racism before it starts. We need to stop the pervasive culture of racial profiling, because if it is allowed to continue, more men, women and children who look like Floyd will pay the price.
Today, I send my deepest condolences to the family of George Floyd.
One of the officers has been arrested, and I am calling on the Minnesota attorney general to press charges and arrest the other officers involved as well.