Tidewater DSA Statement on the Derek Chauvin Verdict

Yesterday, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd. While we recognize this was in fact the correct decision the jury could make, we acknowledge the problems of violent white supremacist policing run much deeper than any one officer or any one court case. We recognize that policing in the United States is rooted in white supremacy, and enacts violence, oppression, and death upon communities of color in general, and Black communities in specific.

While George Floyd’s murderer has been sentenced, we recognize that many similar murders have not had such consequences. We remember Donovon Lynch, who was murdered by Virginia Beach police less than one month ago. We remember Xzavier Hill who was murdered by Virginia State police earlier this year. We remember Marcus David-Peters who was murdered by Richmond police in 2018, while he was suffering a mental health crisis. Even yesterday, as the Derek Chauvin verdict was being read, police in Columbus, Ohio murdered Ma’Khia Bryant only hours earlier. She was sixteen years-old. We remember these, as well as countless other Black men, women, and children murdered by police whose families have not yet seen any amount of justice or accountability. 

We affirm, in the face of this senseless death that Black lives matter, and that police departments exist counter to this fact. We also affirm that it was the institution of policing and its supporters at all levels of government that is the root cause of these killings, and not merely the fault of flawed individuals.

It is for these reasons that we call for the abolition of municipal, state, and federal police, as well as the abolition of the carceral state. The criminal justice system, as it is, is not justice and cannot produce justice. Justice would be the dissolution of all police departments, and members at all levels of these departments being held accountable for the violence committed by the institution of policing. Justice would be protests and actions addressing police brutality being allowed to proceed unimpeded, and that organizers and protesters alike being cleared of any outstanding criminal or civil charges related to their activism. Justice would be jails and prisons of all types across the country being abolished in favor of justice that seeks to restore and heal rather than to punish.

We make these demands in solidarity with the families of people murdered by police, with abolitionist activists across the globe, with Black communities under the constant threat of policing, and Black community members subjected to violence from the police state, and criminal justice system.