Washington Supreme Court Justices have issued a statement highlighting George Floyd incident , condemning the injustices against black Americans by the justice systems of the United States of America, and have urged the legal community to reflect on the moment and act together in a bid to eradicate racism.
The statement has been issued at the heels of the brutal murder of George Floyd, an African-American man who died while getting arrested by the police in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25th, for allegedly using counterfeit money at a grocery store. Floyd’s unfortunate death took place as a result of asphyxiation which had been brought on by the act of Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, despite Floyd repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe“.
The letter, written to the Judiciary and the Legal Community highlighting George floyd case , stated that the “devaluation and degradation of black lives is not a recent event. It is persistent and systemic injustice that predates this nation’s founding. But recent events have brought to the forefront of our collective conscience a painful fact that is, for too many of our citizens, common knowledge: the injustices faced by black Americans are not relics of the past.”
The Supreme Court of the State of Washington has accordingly issued the statement in the matter of George floyd , acknowledging the presence of “racialized policing and the overrepresentation of black Americans in every stage of our criminal and juvenile justice system. It further states that the institution remains affected by the “vestiges of slavery: Jim Crow laws that were never dismantled and racist court decisions that were never disavowed”.
Signed by Chief Justice Debra L. Stephens, and Justices Charles W. Johnson, Barbara A. Madsen, Susan Owens, Steven C. González, Sheryl Gordon McCloud, Mary I. Yu, Raquel Montoyo-Lewis and G. Helen Whitener, the letter concludes on the following note:
“We go by the title of “Justice” and we reaffirm our deepest level of commitment to achieving justice by ending racism. We urge you to join us in these efforts. This is our moral imperative”.
The letter forming a solidarity statement for protest for george floyd urged the legal community to recognize their individual responsibility on allowing the injustice to continue and, urges them to take concrete steps in order to address it with courage and will and mentioned,
“The injustice still plaguing our country has its roots in the individual and collective actions of many, and it cannot be addressed without the individual and collective actions of all.”
The letter further addresses the judiciary in a bid to convey that judges have also played a role in the devaluing of black lives.
“This very court once held that a cemetery could lawfully deny grieving black parents the right to bury their infant. We cannot undo this wrong – but we can recognize our ability to do better in the future. We can develop a greater awareness of our own conscious and unconscious biases in order to make just decisions in individual cases, and we can administer justice and support court rules in a way that brings greater racial justice to our system as a whole.”
Read the letter here,