George Floyd’s murder resulted from a depraved heart and a system that tolerates bad policing. It doesn’t matter if he had been resisting arrest earlier. (He had not.) It doesn’t matter if he had been screaming his favorite N.W.A. lyrics. (He had not.) He had given himself up to law enforcement. No form of violent restraint was necessary.
As the spouse of a prosecuting attorney, I appreciate the fact that law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day. They have to enforce laws nobody likes. They have to deal with drunks and sociopaths, spouse-beaters and spoiled brats. They have to make life-changing judgment calls in a millisecond. Derek Chauvin, the officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck, had 6 minutes and 46 seconds to reconsider his course of action. He took another two minutes, and it was too late to save Floyd’s life by then.
I cannot turn back the hands of time. I suspect everyone involved in this tragedy wishes that were possible. But I will make this pledge to my students in the hope that the forces that brought the death of George Floyd will be curbed.
- I will listen to what you have to say, and find ways to encourage you to think, read, and write analytically and with heart. Start by productively questioning authority.
- I will empower you to express yourself with style and efficiency.
- I will encourage you to act with integrity, for if you can do that, everything else is easy.
When this chapter of American history gets written, I pray that MSMS students and alumni will be the authors. I also pray that I’ll be on the right side of history. George Floyd’s murderer, and the people who think like him, should not be.