public-policy newsletter

The National Human Services Assembly’s Response to the Killing of George Floyd

June 1, 2020

The killing of George Floyd on May 25 by a Minneapolis police officer marks another death in the long and tragic history of police violence towards Black people. The National Assembly stands in solidarity with the family and friends of George Floyd, and calls upon the human service sector to take a leading role in improving the way law enforcement operates in each of our communities.

Over the past decade, the killing of Americans, particularly Black men, by police officers has received increased public attention. Although this scrutiny has led to some improvements in law enforcement tactics, such as the increased use of body cameras and de-escalation training, Black men and boys are still 250 percent more likely to be killed by a police officer than white males. As our nation witnesses clashes between the residents of Minneapolis outraged at the death of a member of their community and law enforcement, it is clear additional action is needed to end the racial policing that has led to a catastrophic amount of death, destruction, and mistrust.

Though most police officers do not perpetrate violence against communities of color, it is evident that there is a pervasive culture in many police departments that has led to a devaluation of Black lives when law enforcement is executing their duties. We are in the midst of a vicious cycle where most African Americans do not trust the police, and police perceive these communities as groups to manage rather than citizens to protect. To reach an amicable and lasting reconciliation, it will take community leaders, particularly in the human service sector, to begin building bridges between targeted communities and law enforcement. This will be one of many steps to get us closer to the racial healing this country needs.