Like so many others across the State and world, I grieve for George Floyd, a Black man killed by Minneapolis Police, and offer condolences to his family and friends. The fires that smolder across the Twin Cities reflect the deep anger at the injustice of Mr. Floyd’s unnecessary death and the unacceptable inaction that has followed in the days since. We must honor Mr. Floyd’s memory by addressing both the specific injustice of his murder as well as the systemic factors that lead police to kill Black, brown and indigenous men at terrifyingly disproportionate rates.
With respect to the police officers whose actions directly, and consciously led to Mr. Floyd’s death, we must ensure accountability. This means swift criminal charges and prosecution. Taking these steps is critical in addressing and affirming that Mr. Floyd’s life mattered and that Minnesota is a state where the law applies in full force to the taking of a Black life. Our city burns with this demand.
In addition to holding the specific police officers accountable, our Minnesota values of inclusivity and equity must be reflected across our institutions. To alleviate the underlying causes of the communal trauma we have witnessed over the past three days, we need to address the many ways in which our criminal legal systems, educational structures, and housing policies have created divergent life experiences and a segregated society. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “A riot is the language of the unheard.” Our city is overcome by the outpouring of grief and rage at the killing of Mr. Floyd. We must listen to the voices of the people who have taken to the streets for justice – who have come to believe that this is the only way that the authorities will listen.
For my part, I pledge to fight for meaningful change in the Legislature. Our goal must be a truly equitable world where the fact that "Black Lives Matter" is a given and "equality of opportunity" is more than just a turn of phrase, but a reality for every one of us.