Justice and Relief
Guilty, guilty, guilty is what all ears locally, nationally, and globally heard today. A verdict was released, finding Derek Chauvin guilty on all three charges of the murder in George Floyd's death. Part of me feels a sigh of relief, but another part of me still feels there's more to be done. The trial of Derek Chauvin placed policing and systematic racism on trial as well. Our justice system has gotten it wrong for so long, but today it finally got it right. Today marks a win for accountability and humanity. This moment represents all the other black and brown lives who could not receive their own justice. Racial injustice is not a people of color problem, but it is everyone's problem. If your not a part of the progressive changes, then your ideally a part of the problem.
What if the bystanders weren't present recording on their phone? What would have happened? I highly doubt the same verdict would have happened. I say this because the initial report from the police mentioned George Floyd passed away for medical reasons. Then the video evidence surfaced, contradicting the original statement. It wasn't a medical incident; it was a murder. This is exactly why Americans have lost trust in law enforcement. There is no clear transparency but lies and deceit. We got to witness with our eyes what felt like the longest 9 min and 29 seconds. When I first watched the clip, I couldn't even finish it. Throughout the video, there were numerous red flags, such as infliction of accessive force, refusing to surrender aid, and most importantly, him repeatedly saying, "I can't breath". While this was happening, there were children present watching it. Witnessing a white police officer placing his knee on the neck of a black man, who repeatedly mentioned he couldn't breathe, and repeatedly called out for his momma.
An Amen Moment
The results from the verdict represented an amen moment. The verdict was justice for the Floyds family and justice for the black and brown communities as well. The treatment of George Floyd was a modern-day public lynching. We have to call it what it was. He didn't deserve the inhumane injustice from what originated over a counterfeit 20$ bill. The punishment doesn't fit the crime, and this is so often the repeated narrative. With Derek Chauvin being found guilty, it offers context to validate this isn't right. We can show others what can happen when law enforcement chooses to treat others without dignity and respect. There should be one universal standard for justice that applies to all. I feel no joy with Derek Chauvin going to jail because I wish the incident never happened. I prefer George Floyd alive with his family and living his best life. I feel relief in the system for having Derek Chauvin take accountability for his actions.
Attention Law Enforcement
Often, when police retell an incident, we are supposed to believe what they are saying because they wouldn't lie to us, right? Wrong. Their still human, just like the rest of us. When officers retell a story, I'm more like trust, but verify, respectfully. I will listen, but I also want to see the proof that validates the statement. What we not going to do is waste each other's time with lies and inaccuracy. I may have been born at night, but it wasn't last night. When police officers make a poor decision, justice is even more critical because they must understand they can not hide behind their badges. They are not above the law. You can't truly fix something if you don't fully understand the problem.
Moving forward towards systemic racial equality calls for reforming and changing current policies. There need to be budgets that include financing how to measure and monitor ongoing progressive movements. There should be more effective training on how to approach and handle scenarios with mental health individuals. If there is a database on criminals, there should be a section for bad cops because there out there. Police need to be trained on what verbal abuse is because words matter. The spoken words police use undermine their safety because now the receiver of the conversation feels they aren't respected, so they shouldn't respect the officer. They perceive the system is against the black and brown community. It is the responsibility of law enforcement to find solutions for police brutality, not the public.
The culture of law enforcement needs to change. Officers should feel peer pressure to understand if we keep acting this way, then we're all going to jail. Periodt. Leadership starts from the top. The Chief words are important and meaningful. The Chief has the opportunity to build a culture that unites and stands firm—setting the example for what will and won't be allowed within their working environment. The Chief should be more involved in the training and with their team. Listen, this isn't the bandwagon for bashing cops because they are genuinely appreciated. They put on the uniform and badge to protect us in times of need, and once again, I truly appreciate them for that. This is the call for them to take action and lead. Be the change you want to see and not the person you oppose. We understand the job is tough; we just want you to be fair.
Applying Moral, and Ethical Leadership
In leadership, we use a term called utilitarianism. "Utilitarianism is an ethical tradition that directs us to decide based on overall consequences of our acts" (Hartman, 2017, p. 68). This theory teaches us to act upon moral principles and human rights. The promotion of human well-being, dignity, and respect is learned through utilitarianism. These are fundamental human values that should be given to everyone, and not a select few. When discussions of discrimination arise within our social environment, we need to listen and pay attention. Discrimination implies a problem in morals, values, and principles that needs further attention and focus.
To create change and more effective leadership, we need to change the standards for what is allowed. Empathy is necessary within law enforcement. Having more compassion for the community you swore an oath to protect and serve will help apply liberty and justice for all. No more senseless killing, and it can help rebuild the trust in their communities. When you see a fellow officer making a poor decision, have the courage to stand up, and acknowledge the wrongdoing. Unconstitutional policing can be eliminated, but it takes the officers wanting to do their part. The passing of George Floyd isn't justice but accountability. Meet the people where they are, and let's work on unity and less division. Were in a new place now, which calls for a need for new model legislation representing diversity and inclusion.
It shouldn't take video footage to receive justice. Nor should individuals be stigmatized and penalized for being different than their counterparts. Being made to feel less than is unfair and unethical. Here at Influencers Unlimited, we want to send our sincere heartfelt condolences to the Floyd family for the loss of yet another black man that was not protected. We plan to uphold his memory by speaking his name and educating others about morals and values and how to apply it within your decision-making process. Systematic racism has affected many, and it's why we say black lives matter. George represented us, and we know we have won the battle but have not won the war. We will continue the fight and continue addressing how to resolve conflict with change that leads to action.
Hartman, L. P. & DesJardins, J. R., & MacDonald, C. (2017). Business ethics: Decision-making for personal integrity & social responsibility (4th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. eISBN-13: 9781259865770