The statement below is by Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr. on behalf of the Freeholder Board regarding the murder of George Floyd.
“Nearly two weeks have passed since the death of George Floyd, but his murder has stayed constant in our minds every minute since seeing his final moments unfold on video. We have spoken out about these tragic events, but today, we want also want to emphasize our support for residents and families who are making their voices heard through peaceful demonstration and protest.
Like much of our country, we are shocked, saddened, angry, and deeply disturbed by what we witnessed in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, we know that George Floyd’s death was not an isolated event, but one more tragic sentence in a story that started 400 years ago in 1619. There can be no justice in a nation where systemic racism and institutionalized bias means that some people get to feel protected when they see law enforcement, while others feel targeted.
Worse yet is the feeling that nothing is going to change, because so many have failed to act, to implement meaningful police reforms on a nationwide scale, when faced with the deaths Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, and countless other black and brown Americans who died at the hands of police.
We simply cannot afford to make the same mistake again; we must be willing to stand up and say that enough is enough.
George Floyd laid on the street with a knee on his neck for nine minutes while he gasped for air and repeatedly told officers ‘I can’t breathe.’ The truth is that many communities of color haven’t been able to breathe for a long time. Our hope is that this tragedy finally leads to meaningful reform and a realization from others that the American experience remains very different based on the color of your skin. Our hope is that George Floyd’s legacy is a catalyst for change, and not another shamefully ignored opportunity to make our country a stronger, fairer home for all of its citizens.”