Our hearts are once again heavy with sorrow. What for many should have been a day of relief with Derek Chauvin convicted for the murder of George Floyd, instead the Black community have been terrorised again with more police killings. Justice is not an unending cycle of killings and a few convictions. Real justice will bring the cycle of murder and grief to an end.
We want to centre those families and loved ones who have suffered the ultimate violence by supposedly public servants. On 20th April, Ma’Khia Bryant, a young Black teenager, was in fear of her life at her home in Columbus, Ohio. Ma’Khia fatefully decided to call the police. When officers arrived seeing her in distress, the police did not try to de-escalate but instead shot 4 times at the 16 year old killing her instantly. We mourn her loss and say her name as her life mattered.
The next day at 8:30am on 21st April in North Carolina, during a search warrant, the police shot and killed a Black man and father, Andrew Brown in his car. There was no threat to life and yet still the outcome was fatal. Witnesses heard between 6 and 8 shots but Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office have shed few details.
Then 10 days prior, 11th April in Minnesota, the very same state in which George Floyd was murdered, a police officer, Kimberly Potter shot and killed Daunte Wright. Potter has been arrested and charged with Wright’s murder, following 2 days of local community protest.
In the last 4 years, research by Washington Post shows that police in the USA are fatally shooting around 1000 people a year. 986 in 2017, 990 in 2018, 999 in 2019 and 1021 in 2020. In the United States, the world’s number one economy, the police are 3 times more likely to fatally shoot Black people than white people.
Each statistic represents the loss and grief of a loved one. But those stats do not include George Floyd. As the police did not shoot him but used lethal physical restraint. Similar to deaths in Europe of Joy Gardner, Sean Rigg, Adama Traore, Rashan Charles, Kevin Clarke and Mohamud Hassan to name a few.
Justice means an end to these killings. It means an end to the police and military killing our children and family. There are different approaches to community safety. We need to defund and abolish the police to work out new approaches. We have to choose to divest from this death machine.
BLMUK in humility will work to organise both in the UK and internationally to build a movement for a world without policing. For safety that doesn’t depend on police or prisons or military. For a world where our lives are cherished and we realise our collective liberation. Let’s get free.