This morning, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) issued the following statements from Janai Nelson, LDF’s Associate Director-Counsel, and Monique Dixon, the Director of LDF’s Policing Reform Campaign, on the police-involved killing of George Floyd and the ensuing protests in Minneapolis.
“We are outraged by the callous killing of Mr. Floyd, a Black man, by a white Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officer – and similarly appalled by the inaction of three other officers who stood by watching as Mr. Floyd endured unspeakable suffering. Tragically, Mr. Floyd took his last breath while an officer pinned him to the ground by driving his knee onto Mr. Floyd’s neck for seven minutes, despite Mr. Floyd pleading, ‘I can’t breathe.’
“Though Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced that all officers involved in this incident have been fired, more action is required. LDF will closely monitor the state and federal investigations of Mr. Floyd’s killing to determine whether criminal charges will be brought against these officers. We expect the officers to be held accountable for their actions to the fullest extent of the law.
“We extend our deepest condolences to Mr. Floyd’s family, friends, and the larger Minneapolis community.”
“Despite the fact that MPD has received $6.4 million in taxpayer dollars from the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services program, Black people are killed by MPD officers at 13.2 times the rate of white people. We call on city and federal officials to conduct a simultaneous independent investigation into this seemingly pervasive issue — one on which Mr. Floyd’s killing has unfortunately shed renewed light. The Justice Department must ensure that that all police departments, including MPD, comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids the use of federal funds for state and local programs engaged in discrimination.
“Additionally, LDF stands in solidarity with Minneapolis residents demanding accountability from the MPD. All residents must be afforded their right to protest without fear of violence or repercussions. We demand that all protesters are protected – and that any law enforcement engagement with protestors is focused on ensuring the safety of protesters and guarding their constitutional rights. The militarized response of the Minneapolis Police Department that we are already seeing on the ground is deeply disturbing and we demand that any response to isolated incidents of unrest is measured and within the bounds of the law.”
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. 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. 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 NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.