Perpetrators of Vile, Racist Acts Must Be Brought to Justice

Statement by Ken Kimmell, President, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published May 28, 2020

WASHINGTON (May 28, 2020)—Four Minneapolis police officers have been fired after a video showed one of the officers pinning his knee against the neck of an African American man.

Below is a statement by Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“On Monday, George Floyd was killed by a police officer who placed his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than five minutes, long enough to take his breath away as he lay on the ground, helpless and handcuffed. A few weeks ago, we learned that Ahmaud Arbery was shot to death while jogging in a residential street in Georgia by local townspeople who claimed without evidence that Mr. Arbery was involved in illegal activity and thought it was their job to act as self-appointed vigilantes.

“These acts are not unique; violence against African-Americans is a long and horrifying part of our history. What is different now is that these acts of violence are captured indelibly on video cameras, reminding all of us how far we are from a just and peaceful society.

“According to a 2019 study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, African American men are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white people. For black women, the rate is 1.4 times more likely.

“Our hearts are broken by these recent acts of racist violence, which are occurring against a backdrop in which African Americans are dying disproportionately from COVID-19, illustrating the massive damage that has been and continues to be caused by institutionalized racism. It’s past time for the country to come together and see each other as fellow human beings. We need to treat one another with love, kindness and respect, not hate.

“We condemn the perpetrators of these vile actions in the strongest possible terms and call on our criminal justice system to hold them fully accountable.”