It’s been a year since the world witnessed Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck. In the year since Floyd’s murder, this nation has engaged in a racial reckoning, the likes of which we haven’t seen in decades.
In a sign of the criminal justice system working, Chauvin, of course, was recently convicted of murder. But we know that is not true justice.
Justice would be George Floyd still living and breathing with us today. Justice would be a wholesale change in the culture of policing. Justice would be major reforms at law enforcement agencies large and small.
Congress continues to debate the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. There have been very few comprehensive actions at the state or local level.
One of the policy changes that has shown tremendous promise in tackling this issue head on is a program and set of principles called Ethical Policing is Courageous. Designed to empower officers to intervene if they witness a fellow officer engaging in misconduct, the peer intervention model was implemented as one of the departmental reforms under the New Orleans consent decree. It is the operationalization of duty to intervene standards that are in place in many departments and takes the standards a step farther by creating a set of training and tools for law enforcement officers. This is just one of many ways law enforcement agencies can begin to change the culture of their departments and of policing.
We will work to continue to educate southern communities on systemic racism in policing, and we will work to build support for the reforms that are necessary to bridge the divide between police and community.
As time moves us farther away from May 25, 2020, we cannot let the momentum this moment has generated fade. We have to continue to show up for each other and for our country.