The tragic, appalling murder of George Floyd is an outrage. The knee of law enforcement on his neck, the plea, "I can't breathe," the color of his skin--how many times must we bear witness to sickening, deadly mistreatment of unarmed African-Americans by those whose duty is to uphold the law? It's wrong and it degrades all of us. It may have happened two thousand miles away, but its brutality touches every corner of our nation. It touches street corners here in L.A., with every young man of color justifiably wondering if this could ever happen to him.
We cannot let this disgraceful incident in Minnesota erode the bonds between law enforcement and our community we have worked so hard to establish here in Los Angeles. We need to struggle, relentlessly, with the legacy of racism that runs so deeply in our society. In the days ahead, all of us must examine ourselves, and the institutions of the justice system, seeking to root out any vestige of unfairness, any vestige of differential treatment possibly based on race.
In justifiable anguish and anger, people across the nation have taken to the streets. Peaceful protest is a hallmark of our democracy. All of us must join in committing to pursue justice. But there is no room for wanton violence, vandalism and looting that victimizes the innocent (including downtown businesses that had been shuttered for months and were working last night to reopen, only to be boarded up this morning) and does nothing to advance a cause that demands our collective action.