May 25, 2021

ACS Commemorates the Life & Legacy of George Floyd on the One-Year Anniversary of His Murder

Contact: Pablo Willis,

Washington, DC — American Constitution Society President Russ Feingold and ACS Executive Vice President Zinelle October released the following statement on the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd.


ACS commemorates the life and legacy of George Floyd on the one-year anniversary of his murder at the hands of law enforcement. This past year has seen the rise of an historic movement for racial justice, driven by a vision for transformative change not just to our criminal legal system, but to the myriad of systems through which institutional racism finds expression. As we commemorate George Floyd, we renew our personal and organizational commitment to this movement and to pursuing the legal and institutional changes it necessitates.


The conviction of Derek Chauvin on all charges was important for validating the truth of what we all witnessed a year ago. But this anniversary underscores how much work we all have to do to achieve meaningful “justice” for George Floyd and for the many, many other Black and Brown people who have been murdered, assaulted, and harassed by law enforcement in this country, and for families and communities suffering from the unrelenting trauma of police violence.


Police violence is an epidemic with deep historic roots in this country. We cannot end it by responding only to individual cases like George Floyd’s. We must address such violence as the epidemic that it is and settle for nothing less than transformative changes to the laws and institutions that have promoted overpolicing and enabled law enforcement to act with impunity.


State and federal laws, and the Supreme Court have empowered lethal overpolicing, from the creation of qualified immunity to the proliferation of fatal traffic stops. We have to dismantle the legal infrastructure that perpetuates racial oppression, including at the hands of law enforcement.


As we remember George Floyd, ACS reaffirms its commitment to this truth telling and reckoning, and to supporting the seismic legal reforms necessary for our laws and legal institutions to protect and advance the lives of Black and Brown people.