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Michigan AG issues statement on the death of George Floyd

George Floyd, who died after being pinned to the ground by an officer who pressed a knee into his neck, Photo Date: Undated

LANSING, Mich.—Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Wednesday issued the following statement on the death of George Floyd.

“I have struggled to find the right words to describe the disappointment and frustration I feel in knowing that George Floyd’s life was taken from him at the hands of law enforcement in such a terrible, yet preventable way. But what further angers me is that this behavior is far too common. We’ve seen this same dynamic play out in cities all across this nation for people like Eric Garner, Sandra Bland and Stephon Clark, and while I know there is good in the work done by so many individuals who truly serve and protect their communities, I must recognize the pain that the black community and other communities of color continue to face.

It’s 2020 and we still have tens of thousands rallying in our streets asking only for equality. We have yet another video and one more hashtag of a black person whose life mattered, a person who can no longer be a father, son, brother and friend to the people he loved.  

The fact is this: we cannot lose one more life simply because we’re unwilling to acknowledge that there are problems with how and who we police. Law enforcement agencies must strongly and loudly condemn racism and police brutality. But that alone isn’t enough. We also must make meaningful changes to ensure no one else loses their life in the way George Floyd did.

These tragedies cannot continue to be written off as unfortunate accidents, or the rogue acts of a bad cop, or the results of poor training, or the consequence of too few resources. We cannot continue to offer words of solidarity with those in our communities of color only to have them continue to be wronged by a system that has failed to protect them over and over again. We cannot continue to say that this behavior is unacceptable – to allow another cry for justice to pass us by – without also taking meaningful action to prevent it from happening again. We must put our words into action.  

In the coming weeks, my office will be taking a series of actions to bring about concrete changes that are long overdue. This announcement is the first step of our commitment to walk the path together with those who march for equal justice. My office is also entering into the collaborative process with key stakeholders in law enforcement, community groups, the Legislature and other agencies within state government to identify and implement concrete ways to ensure all people – regardless of their race, color or zip code – are treated with respect and dignity. 

I recognize that this change may not happen overnight, but I could not let another day pass without making it clear that as long as I serve this great state and even after my time is up, I will say their names, I will fight for equality, and I will ensure that accountability starts with me.” 

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