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Following the news that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted Tuesday of murder and manslaughter for the death of George Floyd, CNN’s Van Jones and Don Lemon agree that there is work to be done in terms of accountability within law enforcement.
Jones appeared on a CNN panel to discuss the trial alongside Anderson Cooper, who noted there is a growing understanding that people can “bear witness,” and not just with camera phones — as Darnella Frazier did in filming the killing of George Floyd — but by any means to capture “the struggles of others, bearing witness to the pains, to the injustices that we see.”
Van Jones agreed, adding that “in January and February of 2020 if you had asked the average white person, is police brutality a big deal, is anti-racism a big deal, some would have said yes, some would have said no.
“Because of that young woman and because of the video, 20 million white Americans marched … millions. There were Black Lives Matter marches in Idaho, where there’s no Black people. That gives you a sense of how humanity’s heart was touched,” Jones said.
“That shouldn’t just happen in the streets when we’re marching. There’s so many opportunities for us to do better. Listen, the empathy gap that we’re seeing throughout our politics can start to close a little bit,” he continued. “It’s important to understand … the police chief fired the guy and testified against him. There were people throughout the profession of law enforcement who came forward and did the right thing for once, and they all still have their jobs. More cops can speak up. More police chiefs can speak up. And more people can do the right thing in these situations.”
Don Lemon agreed with Jones, adding that for those who stood and filmed George Floyd in his final moments, “they didn’t know their power then, but they certainly know their power now.”
The anchor expressed, though, that “there’s a lot more to be done,” highlighting accountability by police officers as a priority.
“Police officers around the country are going to have to do things. They’re going to have to hold their fellow officers accountable. There were other officers involved in this particular incident, and in that moment, they did not, it doesn’t seem they held their fellow officers accountable,” Lemon said. “Yes, it’s incumbent upon the citizens to hold these police officers accountable. But it’s going to be incumbent upon the organizations and the fellow officers who are there every day with those officers who are not doing the right thing to hold them accountable.”
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