The Death of George Floyd Exposes Failures of Police Reform and the Systemic Racial Inequality in our Country

Last week we saw the appalling actions of several Minneapolis Police officers that resulted in the death of George Floyd. The sustained kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck while in custody, laying on the pavement, pleading for his life and calling out for his mother, while he could not breathe was agonizing and deeply painful for me to watch. This was shocking and the nearly nine minutes of suffering represents a terrible failure in policing. 

While the officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck was arrested last week, he was not the only officer whose actions led to the death of Mr. Floyd. The other officers who watched this happen and failed to intervene and stop a man’s suffering at the hands of another police officer bear grave responsibility. For them not to intervene and help Mr. Floyd, insults the conscience. It was a complete abandonment of their duty to “protect life.” Today, they too were rightfully charged for their actions. 

The actions taken by the four police officers in Minneapolis are contrary to everything we were taught in the police academy or any kind of police training. These unlawful acts continue to tarnish the hard work and sacrifice of so many good police officers who are compassionate and serve their communities respectfully. While my disdain for these actions is incomparable to the emotions felt by the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, or the numerous other men and women of color who deal with the systemic racism present throughout this country, it is real. Police officers must not turn a blind eye when they see something happening or act in ways that are in direct conflict with the oath I took to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States. This needs to stop now. That’s why I am calling on police officers across the country to join me in speaking out against these injustices. Police officers who take pride in doing their job the right way have an obligation to stand up.  

We can not fail the community again. We can not remain silent anymore. It falls on every police officer and elected official to ensure that this never happens again. We need to have the difficult conversations about systemic racial inequality in law enforcement, healthcare, employment, education, housing, the judicial system, and countless other aspects of life in America. There are generations of pain that are manifesting on the streets around our country. We must hear their voices and work together for justice. 

- Cindy Allen