Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff on the Trial of Former Officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, Minnesota

March 8, 2021

New Haven, CT  – Today, Center for Policing Equity CEO and Co-Founder Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff released the following statement on the start of the trial of former Officer Derek Chauvin:

The Minneapolis community, along with communities across the country that stood up for justice in the wake of George Floyd’s public lynching, deserve to see the man who killed him held accountable. Efforts to build a more equitable, less violent system of public safety demand it.

And still, convicting Derek Chauvin of second-degree murder is insufficient. A conviction will not create a system that responds to the scourges of poverty and addiction with something other than state-sponsored violence. For that, as a nation, we must hold ourselves accountable for the decisions that allowed a lynching on the streets of Minneapolis in the year 2020. 

This country allowed for laws that made poverty a crime. This country allowed the systems that punish people to grow faster than systems that empower people. This country gave Derek Chauvin the badge and the gun, and the license to commit murder.

This country has done this in nearly every community. Chauvin’s actions, while unconscionable, revealed the brutality given license every day, off-camera. 

As this trial begins, we cannot use the judgement of one man to excuse ourselves from examining the choices and structures that enabled him. If we indulge the urge to move forward without the hard work of self-examination, we will all become future accomplices.

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About Center for Policing Equity: As a research and action organization, Center for Policing Equity (CPE) produces analyses to identify and reduce the causes of racial disparities in public safety. Using data-driven approaches to social justice, we use science to create levers for social, cultural and policy change. Center for Policing Equity also holds a 501(c)3 status.