Councilmember Herbold’s Statement on Verdicts in Minneapolis

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SEATTLE – Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle and South Park), Chair of the Public Safety and Human Services Committee, issued the following statement in response to the verdicts issued in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin:

“It’s been a little less than a year since George Floyd’s murder was televised around the world.  His death raised the consciousness of an entire population to the realities of violence and death faced by Black and Brown people in this country when they come into contact with law enforcement. Those who watched and protested his murder – and the murders of countless other people of color by law enforcement, both before and after – have created a racial reckoning and civil rights movement of global proportions to ensure that we all see, feel, and insist that Black Lives Matter.  

“George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a police officer will in perpetuity serve as the flashpoint for a painful, dramatic, and very necessary shift in the way this city and our country have allowed institutionalized racism to thrive in our culture. 

“I call for any demonstrations to be peaceful and nonviolent in a way that honors both Mr. Floyd’s name and the movement’s legacy as change agents for the next generation. 

“I call for the Seattle Police Department to not interfere with peaceful protest and adhere to the new Seattle Police Department crowd management policies that include reducing presence, when safe and feasible; providing media, legal observers, and protest medics safe avenues to carry out their important roles; de-escalation; communication; and isolating individuals taking unlawful actions in otherwise lawful crowds. 

“True justice for George Floyd will not be attained with this verdict. No verdict will restore George Floyd’s life. No verdict will heal the feelings of powerlessness in the young people who courageously did what they could do as bystanders to stop the loss of life caused by the adult authority figures in front of them. No verdict can replace the love Mr. Floyd gave to his family and friends. No verdict can make up for the countless verdicts that came before, when Black men and women were killed by police, and their killers did not face justice.  

“It is long past time that we address the history of racial injustice and systemic problems with policing and the legal system. We, at this time, in this country, must find a way to channel the demands of protest into policy that builds true community safety. Today’s announcement requires us to be steadfast to that commitment.”