Bishop T.D. Jakes does not want the Black community to be distracted by the recent verdict of the Derek Chauvin trial and has called on members of the public to continue to press elected officials and policy makers for police reform.
“The jury sent an unmistakable message that George Floyd’s death was unnecessary and criminal, that every individual accused or suspected of a crime has a right to his day in court and should not be slaughtered on a public sidewalk and that a nation that purports to be a beacon of law, justice and equality is better than what we saw in that video,” Bishop Jakes said in a statement released on Tuesday.
Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the murder of George Floyd. Just moments before the verdict was read out in court, 16-year-old Black teen Ma’Khia Bryant was shot and killed by a police officer.
The killing took place just miles from where Chauvin murdered Floyd by kneeling on his neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
Last week, 13-year-old Adam Toledo was shot by Chicago officer Eric Stillman. The police initially claimed that Toledo had a gun, but in the bodycam footage, Toledo is seen raising his hands before Stillman fired a shot into his chest. No firearm was captured on the footage.
“While we are delighted by the jury’s verdict, we are mindful that there’s still a lot of work ahead of us. Our criminal justice system remains deeply flawed. Black people disproportionately remain victims of police brutality and are more likely to be pulled over or cited for negligible or phantom traffic violations. Let us not relent in our efforts to press our local, state and federal elected officials for police reform, particularly as it relates to qualified immunity, bias training, de-escalation training and uniform hiring standards.
“My prayer is that this will ignite a safer society where justice is equally allocated to absolutely everyone irrespective of socio-economics, race, religion or gender. Thank you to the many officers who do not stoop to such atrocities and honestly work toward protecting us every day.”