Today marks three years since George Floyd was murdered. Legal Defense Fund (LDF) President and Director-Counsel Janai S. Nelson issued the following statement:
“Three years ago today, George Floyd was slowly tortured and killed by police in Minneapolis, sparking worldwide protests against racialized police violence. Since that day, his family has shown tremendous grace, commitment to justice, and resiliency as they turn pain to power and work to ensure that Mr. Floyd’s death brings about transformational change in our public safety system. Our hearts go out to his family, who have suffered an unfathomable loss, but have remained steadfast in their fight for justice.
“The police killing of Mr. Floyd has resonated long past the day of his death, shifting the entire world’s attention to police brutality and the continued police killings of Black people in unprecedented ways. Today marks a sobering reminder of the work remaining to ensure that liberation from state violence, and respect for the dignity and humanity of Black people, are central components of our public safety systems.
“There have been steps to answer this call through a number of critical initiatives that reduce the scope of law enforcement. LDF released a Framework for Public Safety this year, outlining the steps needed to fundamentally transform our public safety system. This includes developing teams of unarmed responders to respond to the significant percentage of 911 calls that do not involve violence, expanding and institutionalizing restorative justice programs, and increasing investments in community resources and ensuring economic security to address the root causes of violence. And while congressional action has stalled, President Biden’s Executive Order Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety has created avenues to increase accountability and reduce police discrimination and violence.
“Recently, there has been a backlash against the demands to transform public safety systems. Disinformation by some has been used to falsely assert that bail reform or progressive prosecutors have led to increased crime in certain cities—assertions that are wholly rebutted by LDF’s own research. Additionally, state and federal legislatures are attempting to curtail local efforts to improve police accountability, as shown through recent efforts in Congress to overturn D.C. legislation and a Tennessee law that eliminates local community oversight boards. Actions such as these are antithetical to a functioning democracy and run counter to the public safety we all seek. The work to overhaul our existing public safety systems to address the conditions that led to Mr. Floyd’s death must carry on.
“We honor Mr. Floyd’s memory and will continue to strive to protect our communities from the threat of racialized police violence. LDF advocates for equitable public safety systems that are responsive to community needs to create real and lasting safety, free from all violence, including police violence.”
Founded in 1940, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is the nation’s first civil rights law organization. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Please note that LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights.