I’ve spent 16 years representing the criminally accused. Sometimes I like to write or blog to help clarify my thoughts on subjects that are on my mind. The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police has been on my mind. All the more as, with tears coming down my cheeks, I watched George Floyd’s sister, Bridget Floyd, speak on Good Morning America this morning. But as I try to write something, my thoughts remain incoherent, ramblings. But here they are:
- Our expectations for African American victims of violence are ridiculous. Less than 48 hours after her brother was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer, while other Minneapolis police officers stood idly by watching the murder, Bridget Floyd goes on national television in all her grief for the world to see. If my family member were murdered, I can’t even begin to imagine anyone even asking me to go on television to talk about it, let alone actually doing it. Yet Bridget Floyd and her family are burdened with not only grieving but with a calling or expectation to bring attention to racist and violent policing and the everyday violence and civil rights violations people of color suffer.
- Listening to Bridget Floyd struggle to find the words when talking about her sons… well, I really have no thoughts. Go to the 5:20 mark of this video. Just watch it. I literally don’t even know what to say about it. I’m shaking as I even type this. What are African American parents supposed to tell their sons? What do they tell their sons? I have a son. He’s white. It is hard enough raising him. I can’t even begin to grasp what I would tell him about living in this world. I probably need to reread Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me and be reminded of his struggle with the same question.
- The City of Chicago continues to completely and utterly fail us. Yes, the City of Chicago. In her grief, Bridget Floyd said, in regards to the Minneapolis police officers getting fired: “Firing them is not enough. It is just not enough.” Of course she is right.
Yet, in the City of Chicago, this most basic level of police accountability is non-existent. More than two-and-a-half years ago, fifteen men had their drug convictions overturned. This was no technicality. The men didn’t have drugs; police made it up and sent these innocent men and women to prison. Seven officers involved in the framing were put on desk duty the next day. A few months later it was learned eight additional officers were put on desk duty, bringing the total to 15.
That was 27 months ago. The officers are still getting paid. Nothing has happened.
In the meantime, dozens more have had their convictions vacated on the same grounds — 75 people in total now. 75 people, who, by my count, were sentenced to 235 years in prison for crimes made up by the police. And most of the officers responsible are still on the force and still getting paid.
Nothing changes in Chicago. The lack of police accountability is absolutely shameful. Our city continues to fail us.