Durbin Speaks On The Killing Of George Floyd And The Need To Address Fundamental Issues Of Racial Injustice In America

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today spoke about the death of George Floyd, the anger and pain that has been expressed in recent days across our country, and the need for America to address fundamental issues of racial injustice.  In a speech on the Senate floor, Durbin paid tribute to the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and other Black Americans whose lives were cut far too short in incidents of inexplicable and inexcusable violence.  Durbin called on President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr to provide real leadership by implementing the recommendations of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and permitting the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to do its job and vigorously investigate police departments accused of engaging in a pattern or practice of misconduct.  Durbin also called on Congress to hold hearings on systemic racism and police misconduct, so that we can discuss and pursue solutions—including accountability and training.

“How many more names of Black men, women, and children will be cried out in protest before America finally acknowledges the obvious?  We cannot call ourselves a land of justice until we address those fundamental issues of racial injustice.  That will require an honest, candid conversation with leaders in the law enforcement community about training, inherent bias, use of force, and the consequences for their unjust action.  It will require prosecutors and courts to commit to pursuing true accountability when injustice occurs.  And it will require legislators, like myself and those in the House and state legislators around this country, to continue to undo the damage of a criminal justice system fraught with racial disparities,” Durbin said.  “Most importantly, it will require those of us with privilege and power to step back and listen to Black America as they tell us about what a life facing pervasive systemic racism is like.”

Durbin continued, “His name was George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American.  He died on the streets of Minneapolis with the knee of a police officer on his neck for almost nine minutes.  He cannot be forgotten.  It is time for our generation to say ‘enough.’”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor are available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.

When Durbin chaired the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights, he held several hearings on race in America, including his last hearing as Chairman in December 2014 on the State of Civil and Human Rights in the United States.