Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Director of Outreach and Equity Lauren Footman issued the following statement:
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence condemns violence in all its forms. We also understand the outrage of injustice. We applaud the arrest in the killing of George Floyd but fully recognize that justice is a long way from being served. Three other officers who were complicit in the killing still remain free.
Our organization mourns for the lives and families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many more Black Americans whose lives were intentionally destroyed by the systemic racism that is etched into the fabric of American society. We mourn for the cities of Minneapolis and Louisville which are experiencing unrest as a direct result of these police killings. We also mourn for communities around the country that are struggling to find a path forward in the wake of these tragedies — communities that are continuing their fight for justice during an international pandemic.
Racism has existed in America since the nation’s founding — in recent memory we witnessed similar scenes in Ferguson, Baltimore, and elsewhere during past presidential administrations. The Trump administration, however, has exacerbated these divisions. Rather than appealing for calm and justice, the president himself has stoked the violence. Donald Trump’s outrage and anger regarding the unrest in Minneapolis is stronger than any sentiment he has made about the death of George Floyd. The president has a history of stoking racial tensions, but last night he blatantly called for acts of state-sponsored gun violence against Americans — primarily Black Americans.
“When the looting starts, the shooting starts” is a quote from racist Miami Police Chief Walter Headley in regards to what was described as Headley’s 1967 “shotgun crackdown on Negro slum hoodlums.” It is not a coincidence that the president embraced this call to violence to shoot those protesting police brutality and the systemic injustices against Black Americans.
“Trump’s incitement to violence is shocking but remains only a symptom of the core disease. The disease of racism spreads in an America where justice, fairness, and the rule of law do not work for everyone. The system is not broken — it is working exactly the way it was designed to. This is the same system that first enslaved Blacks, then segregated Blacks, then imprisoned Blacks, and now blatantly kills them.
“This is one arrest. But Officer Chauvin is not just “one bad apple.” When too many bad apples continue to exist within police departments, this creates a bad tree. For America to succeed, we need to cut down that tree to address the ugly and pervasive root causes of racism, violence, and injustice in order to build a stronger American system for all our citizens.”