The Brooklyn Bar Association stands with the family of George Floyd and those appalled by the events of May 25, 2020, that culminated in the senseless and tragic death of Mr. Floyd by individuals who took an oath to protect and to serve the very community and city that Mr. Floyd held so dear to his heart. The Brooklyn Bar Association is committed to promoting the values of diversity and inclusion in order to achieve and sustain excellence in the legal profession and to advance the fair administration of justice. In order for the public to maintain respect for the legal system, there must be an alliance between the community, law enforcement, public officials and the judiciary.
The video of a Minneapolis police officer pressing his knee on George Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes until his death was a tragic reminder of the death of Eric Garner. Like many others before them, these were two African-American men who lost their lives in the midst of what should have been routine interactions with law enforcement. These events shocked the conscience and only serve to heighten awareness of the systemic racism in this country, and widen the gulf between police departments and the communities they were hired to protect and serve. The Brooklyn Bar Association acknowledges that most police officers uphold the law and fulfill their oath with dignity and honor. Unfortunately, there are police officers who do not, resulting in far too many stories of disparate treatment of people of color, resulting in justified feelings of anger, sadness and hopelessness.
We are humbled by the daily images of peaceful protests ongoing around the United States and we encourage them to continue. We do not, however, condone any conduct that serves to distract attention from or undermine the agenda of the peaceful protesters, including looting, rioting or damage to property. Likewise, we feel it important to acknowledge and disavow instances of clearly disproportionate, excessive force on the part of individual police officers against persons engaging in peaceful protest. This is not an opportunity for self-serving or hateful conduct. Rather, this is a time for thoughtful engagement, listening and most importantly, action. The community, law enforcement, public officials and the judiciary cannot act alone. We must work together to regain trust, narrow the gulf, maintain a healthy dialogue, promote mutual interests and stop the senseless violence.
To that end, we encourage the legal community and the Brooklyn community at large to stand up to fight racism. All people need to take action if we hope to combat the rampant and systemic racism that exists in our country. For more information about how you can get involved individually, view the following links: https://www.naacp.org; https://www.aclu.org.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Mr. Floyd was created equally with certain unalienable rights. But, his life was cut short. Four police officers have been charged. Now we wait for the judicial system to act.
Brooklyn Bar Association Board of Trustees
Friday, June 5, 2020