April 20, 2021

Racist policing and police violence must end

Today, a jury in Minneapolis found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd. This case stands out not only because the brutal murder sparked an unprecedented wave of global protests against racism and police brutality, but also because Derek Chauvin is going to be held accountable. Between 2013 and 2020, more than 98% of killings by police resulted in zero charges for the officer involved.

This verdict does not solve the crisis of police violence, nor does it change the system that allowed George Floyd to be murdered in the first place. Our policing and legal systems are rooted in white supremacy and violence.

Since the start of Chauvin’s trial less than a month ago, police have killed at least 64 individuals nationwide—disproportionately Black and brown people. Daunte Wright, a father of a two-year-old son, was killed by police on April 11, just 10 miles from where the Chauvin trial took place. In Minneapolis, Black people were killed by police at 22 times the rate of white people between 2013 and 2020. Nationwide, Black people are three times more likely to be killed by police than white people, and are more likely to be unarmed at the time.

Police violence is just one way white supremacy is embedded into our culture. It is deeply unjust, and cannot be solved with small changes to the status quo, or simply by electing Democrats. We all have a shared responsibility to build a system of public safety that protects everyone equally. We must work to end racist practices in policing and police violence, especially in Black and brown communities that have suffered most under the current system.

Swing Left joins others in demanding not just accountability for past injustices, but action to prevent future tragedies. There are organizations throughout the country working urgently to make change, including groups on the ground in Minnesota. We encourage everyone to learn more about these organizations and support their important work.

We will continue to uplift the work of generations of organizers, and a central message of the protests sparked in George Floyd’s honor: Black Lives Matter.