TUCSON— Days of protests in Minnesota have erupted into violence after the death of George Floyd in police custody. Last night, President Trump encouraged the shooting of protesters on Twitter. In response, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva issued the following statement:
“The death of George Floyd was an act of murder, plain and simple, and my thoughts are with his family, friends, and community as they continue to grieve and demand justice and accountability for his death. It is unconscionable that days after an officer choked him to death on camera, he is only now facing arrest.
“Make no mistake, the extreme use of force by the Minneapolis Police Department toward protesters has further exacerbated the situation and thrust the city into chaos. The dousing of those protesting the killing of an unarmed black man by the police in tear gas remains in stark contrast to how police departments across the country have treated armed protesters storming state capitols over stay-at-home orders.
“This is the reality of being a person of color in America. It’s an experience where your race exposes you to unnecessary violence that is often met with impunity when perpetrated by those with power. For far too long, the Justice System has failed us. It’s devalued black and brown lives to the point where they are murdered on camera, in broad daylight, and perpetrators face no consequences. It’s a system that allows officers like Derek Chauvin with numerous complaints to continue serving when their actions on the job suggest otherwise. It’s a system championed by a President who sows division at every given opportunity and calls for unrestricted violence instead of peace and reconciliation even when it’s so desperately needed.
“George Floyd, and all the other black and brown men and women needlessly murdered by state forces in cold blood deserve justice. I’m calling for immediate charges to be filed and join House Judiciary Committee colleagues in urging DOJ to investigate patterns of racially-motivated police misconduct. We cannot allow injustice to fester, and the other officers involved with George’s death must be arrested and face real consequences. This will not bring George back, but it is the opportunity to provide justice to his family and community and send a strong message that no more people will die at the hands of police with impunity.
“As important as holding bad police actors accountable in this country, is the urgent need to address the systemic and systematic racism that so clearly exists here. That starts by ensuring we put people in law enforcement positions who don’t see those with darker skin as more dangerous. But it doesn’t end there. It includes a health care system that doesn’t dismiss the health concerns of people of color, a school system that doesn’t disproportionately punish children of color, and an economy that doesn’t pay minorities a fraction of what others workers make.”