What the Trial for the Murder of George Floyd Means to Me

headshotNow that the trial for the murder of George Floyd is over, in lieu of an official corporate statement, we at LCW would like to center the voice of our team member, consultant and facilitator Larry Baker. Below he shares his reaction and perspectives for what needs to happen next to implement and sustain true justice. 

by Larry Baker, LCW Consultant

As a Black man, you tend to prepare for the worst and hope for the best in these cases.

A guilty verdict means a nice step in the right direction for the Black community – that it is possible for a Black person to go to court and win. But it is also a sad commentary that Black people must pay such a heavy cost to receive this outcome.

This case is only a reality because of the video proof showing exactly what George Floyd endured during his death. If this had not been recorded, there’s no chance that this verdict would have even been possible.

The price George Floyd had to pay to receive this justice posthumously is the other great tragedy. As a Black man, far too often, we must lay down our lives to receive justice in this country, which speaks to a deeper issue: The defense actually sought to put George Floyd on trial. They brought up his past to justify the brutality that he suffered on that day because there must always remain this “scarlet letter” placed upon Black men, that we have these faults, as all men do, even if we are the victim.

This tactic speaks more to the failure of our society to believe yet that Black lives really do matter. This victory will be a shallow one if the system does not change. And given that another unarmed Black man was killed in this same city less than a year after George Floyd…it seems America has still not received the message.

We must do some serious purging of the policing system in this country. There are just too many officers in the system that do not and should not be there. They are more than bad apples – they are bad people. Is it possible that they became bad due to the system that they operate in? Yes, that can absolutely be the case. But if you were a bad person going into the system, you will be worse coming out.

If Chauvin had been found innocent, I don’t think many Black people would have been surprised. Hurt, angry, disappointed – those would more than likely have been our primary reactions. But that innocent verdict will never stop our determination for criminal justice reform, because this is the Black community’s greatest work. We must make it so that our Black bodies can walk around in this country knowing that we will be treated fairly. This is a chance for America to live up to her high moral standards.

 

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