Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors has said Derek Chauvin‘s conviction was a ‘victory in accountability’ but George Floyd‘s murder and the cop killing of Ma’Khia Bryant prove the criminal justice system is ‘broken’ and should be abolished.
Cullors, who set up BLM with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi back in 2013, posted a video on Instagram Thursday where she told her 371,000 followers that now was the time to ‘fight for more’ and ‘get us closer to a place where there are no jails or prisons or surveillance’ in America.
Chauvin was found guilty of all charges Tuesday in the murder of Floyd, after the white cop knelt on the black man’s neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest in Minneapolis last May.
Just minutes before he was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, black 16-year-old Bryant was shot dead by a cop in Columbus, Ohio.
Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors said in a social media video (above) Derek Chauvin’s conviction was a ‘victory in accountability’ but George Floyd’s murder and the cop killing of Ma’Khia Bryant prove the criminal justice system is ‘broken’ and should be abolished
Just minutes before Derek Chauvin was convicted of the murder of George Floyd (left), black 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant (right) was shot dead by a cop in Columbus, Ohio
Cullors welcomed the guilty verdict handed down to Chauvin in the hope that it ‘makes George Floyd’s family feel better’.
‘When I heard the guilty verdicts I felt two things. I felt a big overwhelming sense of I hope that makes George Floyd’s family feel better. I hope they feel some justice was given to them,’ she said.
But she also questioned whether the outcome should be celebrated as she said Floyd would still be alive if the criminal justice system had been abolished as there would be no police, prisons or surveillance.
‘I also felt like I am ready to fight for more. I am ready to move us toward abolition,’ she said.
‘I’m ready to get us closer to a place where there are no jails or prisons or surveillance.’
Floyd’s death was proof of a ‘broken’ system, Cullors said.
‘For an abolitionist the question is always is a guilty verdict for a cop an actually abolitionist act? Is this something that we should be celebrating?’ she asked.
‘A guilty cop was convicted of all the charges, was convicted of murder. We don’t see that often. We rarely see this,’ she said.
‘It’s not a sign that our criminal justice system is working it’s actually a sign that it’s broken, it’s a sign that it’s never worked for us and that we have to move toward abolition.’
While the verdict was a ‘victory because we had accountability’ she said it ‘was not a victory toward abolition.’
She added: ‘In an abolitionist world we would still have George Floyd.’
Cullors, who set up BLM with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi back in 2013, posted a video on Instagram Thursday where she told her 371,000 followers that now was the time to ‘fight for more’ and ‘get us closer to a place where there are no jails or prisons or surveillance’
The 37-year-old said she did notice a difference in Chauvin’s trial compared to the trial of George Zimmerman in 2013, where he was acquitted for shooting dead black 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sandford, Florida.
‘I watched this trial pretty much daily. Something that was very different from this trial from the trial of George Zimmerman’s was that I actually felt like everyone was on the right side of history,’ she said.
‘I felt like people were listening and thinking about anti black racism in a way that I have never seen inside a trial and that was powerful.’
Cullors said that Bryant’s ‘murder’ – within ‘the same breath’ as the jury reading out its verdict – shows there is ‘no justice’ or ‘freedom’ for black people in America.
‘While we all watched Derek Chauvin be convicted for murder, another young black child was killed in Columbus, Ohio,’ she said.
‘Ma’Khia Bryant was 16 years old and shot in the chest multiple times by Columbus police.
‘This is why black people are in so much pain, this is why black people must have abolition, this is why our country must have abolition.’
She added: ‘In the same breath we are witnessing finally a cop get convicted and then in the same breath we are witnessing a black child be murdered.
Cullors said she hopes Chauvin’s conviction ‘makes George Floyd’s family feel better’ but said Floyd would still be alive if the justice system had been abolished. Pictured Chauvin murdering Floyd
‘That’s because there is no justice in this country yet. That’s because there is no freedom for black people in this country yet.’
Cullors urged people to ‘imagine a world where black people are thriving’ and are focused on the lives of black people rather than their deaths.
‘This country is so obsessed with black death we need to reimagine black life,’ she said.
‘Ma’Khia should be with us. George should be with us – that’s justice, that’s love, that’s healing.’
Chauvin in a mug after he was found guilty
She called on people to ‘imagine abolition’ as a place ‘where black people can live freely, where we can live our full whole lives, where we are not gunned down by the police.’
Cullors has long called for the abolition of the criminal justice system as it is today, including its prisons, police, ICE detention centers and jails.
Instead, she calls for a move to transformative justice with law enforcement funding redirected to initiatives that directly serve communities, such as through education, healthcare and community programs.
The BLM co-founder is set to release her new book about abolition in October, titled ‘An Abolitionist’s Handbook: 12 Steps to Change Yourself and the World’.
Her comments come as Chauvin awaits his June sentencing for the murder of Floyd, with a maximum sentence of 40 years.
It emerged Friday that the Department of Justice is now investigating whether to bring federal charges against him over both Floyd’s death and a separate 2017 incident where he knelt on a black 14-year-old boy’s neck for nearly 17 minutes.
Federal prosecutors had witnesses testify before a grand jury two months ago regarding the 2017 incident, it was revealed.
Chauvin has never before faced any charges over this arrest.
Meanwhile, over in Ohio, the investigation continues into the death of Bryant.
Columbus Police Officer Nicholas Reardon shot Bryant four times at around 4.45pm on Tuesday on the 3100 block of Legion Lane while responding to a 911 call about an attempted stabbing.
Police bodycam footage shows the fateful moment a police officer shot 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday
Body camera footage was released by police showing Bryant holding a knife and charging at two women.
She appeared to be lunging at the second woman with the knife when Reardon opened fire.
Questions continue to mount over the shooting and the events leading up to it, as cops released a 911 call thought to have been made by the 16-year-old minutes before she died, in which she asks the dispatcher to send a police officer ‘now’ as some girls are ‘trying to stab us.’
Bryant’s family say she made the 911 call after a group of other girls were threatening violence, but Columbus Police Chief Michael Woods told reporters ‘we do not know yet’ if it is the teen’s voice on the call.
Her death has sparked protests, with Bryant’s family, lawmakers and public figures questioning the use of force and saying her death was avoidable.
The teen’s aunt Hazel Bryant said she was ‘defending herself’ from attack by the other women in the footage when she was shot while her mom’s cousin asked why the officer did not de-escalate the situation instead of opening fire.
But others – including neighbors of the foster home where she lives – said Reardon had no choice but to shoot the black 16-year-old because she could have fatally stabbed the other woman.
Bryant’s foster mother said the fatal shooting unfolded when the 16-year-old and two of her former foster children got into a brawl over a messy house and an unmade bed.
Meanwhile, Cullors has come under scrutiny after it emerged she had accrued a $3 million property empire of four homes in recent years. This includes the recent purchase of a $1.4 million home in the largely white district of Topanga Canyon, Los Angeles (above)
She has also bought three other homes including this one in Georgia – altogether totaling around $3 million
Meanwhile, Cullors has come under scrutiny after it emerged she had accrued a $3 million property empire of four homes in recent years.
This includes the recent purchase of a $1.4 million home in the largely white district of Topanga Canyon, Los Angeles.
The revelation has sparked questions about her source of income as well as her standing as a self-proclaimed Marxist.
Black Lives Matter raked in around $90 million in donations last year but does not release a full accounting of its spending.
The organization said Cullors has been paid $120,000 since 2013 but has not received any payment since 2019.
Cullors hit back last week saying it is ‘categorically untrue’ and ‘incredibly dangerous’ to suggest she may have used any of the organization’s funds to buy her homes and saying the scrutiny is a ‘racist and sexist’ attack by the ‘right-wing media’.
She also tried to deflect criticism from some on the left who have questioned whether her ownership of four homes contradicts her ideology as a ‘trained Marxist’ as she said she has invested in the properties to provide for her family and sees her wealth ‘as my family’s money, as well.’