Members of the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) reflect on the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, by former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. In a video recording of the fatal arrest, Chauvin can be seen pressing his knee into the neck of Floyd for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. The murder of George Floyd sent shockwaves around the world and renewed calls for comprehensive police reform. Last month, a Minneapolis jury found Chauvin guilty for the murder of George Floyd. The three other officers involved in Floyd’s death are awaiting trial.
“To say that 2020 was a tumultuous year is a gross understatement. The COVID-19 pandemic changed every aspect of our lives — the way we work, how we educate our students, going to the doctor, how we communicate with one another, among other things. What did not change was the historic brutality and violence against Black and Brown communities by the hands of rouge cops in law enforcement,” said Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus. The murder of George Floyd and other incidences of police brutality triggered a racial reckoning in this country that we have not witnessed in white America since the Civil Rights Movement. California has always been at the forefront on diversity issues in this country. From ethnic studies, diversity on corporate boards, to the first-in-the-nation task force to study and develop reparations, we have continued to demonstrate our leadership. Yet, we remain one of four states without a decertification process to hold rogue cops accountable. The world witnessed a modern day lynching by Chauvin and yet this country remained on pins and needles in anticipation of whether he would be found guilty. What does that say about the institution of policing in this country? As a state, we have to remain dedicated to setting the standard in our nation on progressive issues that foster real change. It is time we take that approach with police reform and public safety.”
“The one year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder is a stark reminder of the work that remains to protect Black bodies in California and across the nation. Work that begins in recognizing how our institutions continue to perpetuate implicit bias towards Black and Brown communities of color, people experiencing poverty, and unsheltered individuals,” said Senator Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles), Vice-Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus. Today, in coordination with my colleagues, I’m doubling down in my commitment to reforming our criminal justice system, addressing massive health care inequities, and furthering broader economic justice. Because while we have begun to see police accountability in the name of George Floyd, it is only through radical, anti-racist work will we achieve justice for the lives of Black Americans.”
“One year after George Floyd was murdered we continue to grieve. At the same time, things are different. In the last year we saw millions of people from all walks of life in the streets chanting Black Lives Matter, but now, it is translating into policy reforms,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena). Today we remember the man who was George Floyd, and tomorrow we continue our work towards justice for him and the countless victims of deadly and excessive force by police officers.”
“One year after the death of George Floyd, I with other members of the CLBC will continue our work in the California Legislature to improve the lives of Black Californians,” said Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), Secretary of the California Legislative Black Caucus. We will never stay silent in the face of injustice. Rest in power George Floyd.”
“While justice was served for Floyd, let us take this moment one year after his death to acknowledge the strides we must continue to make in African American communities in his honor to attain true equity,” said Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove), Treasurer of the California Legislative Black Caucus.
“As the mother of two young boys, witnessing George Floyd’s death was extremely painful and personal,” said Assemblymember Akilah Weber, MD (D-San Diego). We all felt a riveting emotional reaction, and it was particularly devastating for the Black community who has repeatedly been subjected this this type of trauma for generations. This tragedy once again highlighted the urgent need to take action because much work still needs to be done to establish equity for all. We must do better for our future generations.”
“We owe it to Mr. Floyd, to his daughter and to our future generations to demand justice for all those who are victims of police brutality and to hold those who abuse their authority accountable, so that one day, we can live without fear. It was not his choice but it is George Floyd’s legacy,” said Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood).
“One year later and we don’t have true justice for George Floyd and families affected by police brutality yet. The guilty verdict was necessary but we must have convictions for the other officers whose use of positional asphyxia killed George Floyd,” said Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson), Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Police Reform. My bill, AB 490 (The Angelo Quinto Act of 2021) bans positional asphyxia and is a part of comprehensive police reform legislation in California, authored by the CLBC and nationally with HR 7120 (Bass). I call on the Legislature to pass and Governor Newsom to sign the CLBC justice package and the U.S. Senate to pass and President Biden to sign HR 7120, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.”
“The tragic death of George Floyd has made it clear to all that racism in our country persists. Mr. Floyd did not die in vain as his legacy will be remembered as the tipping point that led America to reconcile its past by creating a future of inclusivity and equality,” said Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Public Safety.
Since the murder of George Floyd, the CLBC has championed bold legislation addressing structural racism and police brutality. These measures include the following:
2020-2021 Police Reform Bills
- SB 2 Bradford Kenneth Ross Jr. Police Decertification Act of 2021
- AB 26 Holden Duty to Intervene
- AB 118 Kamlager C.R.I.S.E.S Act Pilot Program
- AB 89 Jones-Sawyer PEACE Act
- AB 1165 Gipson Tear Gas Ban in Juvenile Facilities
2019-2020 Police Reform Bills
- AB 846 Burke Police Job Descriptions and Bias Screening
- AB 1185 McCarty Sheriff Oversight
- AB 1196 Gipson Carotid Restraint
- AB 1950 Kamlager Probation Reform
- AB 1506 McCarty Independent Investigations for Police Deadly Force
- AB 3070 Weber Juries: peremptory challenges
The CLBC will continue our work on police reform. We had some success in recent years, but there is still much more to do and it will not be easy. This is a critical time in our country. True leadership and unity will matter more than ever. Let’s resolve together to make a safer California for all.