Press Release

Statement on Guilty Verdicts in Derek Chauvin Trial

It’s Time to Remove the Drug War as an Excuse for State Violence

Contact: 
Matt Sutton 212-613-8026
[email protected]

New York, NY – In response to the jury returning a guilty verdicts on all three counts for Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, Kassandra Frederique, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), released the following statement:
 
“We never needed a trial or a jury to tell us how George Floyd died. We witnessed those painful nine minutes and 29 seconds with our own eyes. And the truth is, we have been witnessing Black, Latinx and Indigenous lives being ruthlessly cut short at the hands of police, using drug involvement—whether perceived or real—as pretext, as long as we can remember.
 
Over the course of the trial, the defense brought in one witness after another not to prove Derek Chauvin didn’t kill George Floyd, but instead to prove that George Floyd was under the influence of drugs at the time of his death and in previous law enforcement encounters. This is a classic example of how the drug war has been used as an excuse for state violence.
 
It doesn’t matter if George Floyd was on drugs or not. He still deserved to live.
 
This verdict, for once, gives us hope that the days of this excuse still working are numbered.
 
But the fight is not over. Make no mistake, this will happen again and there will be other officers who try to escape all accountability. We must work to end the drug war, so that drugs can never again be used as an excuse to rob people of their dignity, their humanity or their lives.”

Criminal Justice Reform