RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond mayor Levar Stoney and Gov. Ralph Northam have issued statements calling for justice following the death of George Floyd, a black Minnesota man who died while handcuffed after a police officer held a knee against his neck for almost 9 minutes.
“This has been such a sad and emotional week, with too many violent and blatant reminders of how far our country is from genuine equity and fair treatment," Northam wrote. "George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others have been wrongfully killed, simply for being black. People all over our country are hurting and angry, and rightly so."
In his letter, Northam highlighted the need to "renew our committment to working for justice" and examine the "standing systemic inequities in America" including "access to good health, education, fair housing, business opportunities, voting, and criminal justice reform."
“No one should have to carry that type of burden but for the African American community and communities of color, this is a reality. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the weight of this struggle, highlighting long standing systemic inequities in America," Northam wrote. “People are crying out for justice and healing. But those aren’t feelings—they’re actions, and we have a lot of work to do in this country and in our Commonwealth."
Mayor Stoney wrote that the murder of George Floyd is a long felt pain that is "ingrained in the bones of Black Americans."
“Yes, we must interrogate and condemn the America that treats Black lives as expendable, whether at the hands of the police or the coronavirus. But it’s not enough to believe this is all about changing hearts and minds," Stoney wrote.
Stoney called for systems-level change to abolish the systemic injustices plaguing Black Americans and said that it is the responsibility of all races to question and transform the systems of inequality.
“America was built on the backs of slaves, and our city is still plagued by the inequities that rose from this shameful foundation. Healing this country will require systems-level change to abolish the injustices that continue to oppress and pin down Black Americans until they can’t breathe," Stoney wrote. "It is the responsibility of us all – no matter our race or station – to question and transform institutions predicated on racism, and to do so with love in our hearts and the names of our lost brothers and sisters on our lips.”
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested on Friday on third-degree murder charges