George Floyd, Tony McDade, Sean Reed and Breonna Taylor
The killings must stop.
We have seen the impacts of white supremacy’s pervasiveness in law enforcement across the country for centuries and we, as a nation, must come together to dismantle the system of oppression.
Every person has the right to live, and we join you and our allies in condemning the recent police killings of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Sean Reed and Breonna Taylor. Following the tragic killing of Ahmaud Arbery by a vigilante and former police officer, the impact of these murders reaches across the country, and we must have accountability.
It is absolutely imperative that local police departments and district attorneys investigate, arrest and prosecute officers who violate the rights of the people who live in the communities they are charged to serve. Equally important, law enforcement must stop responding to peaceful protest of police killings with tear gas and rubber bullets, as we witnessed over the last few nights. This violence being waged by the police against peaceful protesters is a gross abuse of human rights, and government officials should move quickly to stop them now.
We stand with millions of people across the country who are rightfully outraged by the killings, the lack of arrests or appropriate charges against the perpetrators, and the lack of action to protect the right to protest. President Trump’s calls for violence against those demanding justice for these deaths only serves to add to our pain and outrage.
But condemnation and outrage aren’t enough. We, as a nation, must come together to push for systemic change — real change that strikes at the core of structural racism by transforming our policing systems. This transformation must include transparent investigations into police killings and acts of brutality; reforms in state laws on the use of force by police; and nationwide changes in law enforcement hiring practices to expose implicit bias and meaningfully diversify staff with more women and people of color.
Since our founding, the SPLC has researched and documented acts of hate, white supremacy and violence against Black people. Over nearly 50 years, we have called out acts of extremism and denounced those who espouse hate against others because of their identity.
Today, we urge law enforcement and governments to join our efforts and name the system of white supremacy that invites acts of violence against Black people and other communities of color. For too long, we have seen police officers, local prosecutors, judges and juries perpetuate violence against Black people through a culture of white supremacy and repeated failure to hold law enforcement officers responsible.
We commit to working with our supporters and our partner organizations to do everything within our power to dismantle structural anti-Black racism within our criminal justice system, call out hate and extremism and stand with community members directly impacted by oppressive systems.