RICHMOND, Va. - Gov. Ralph Northam is the latest to speak out after three high-profile cases of police brutality.
After a number of local law enforcement agencies addressed the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis after video showed an officer kneeling on his neck, Gov. Northam issued a statement Friday on the deaths of Floyd, Breyonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
Arbery was shot to death in Brunswick, Georgia, on February 23. His family says he was out for a jog in a neighborhood. Taylor was killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 13 when officers conducted a "no-knock" raid on her home.
The governor's statement reads as follows:
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.
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.
The fear that is so common in the hearts and lives of many is real—will someone I love be next?
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.
What we see with our own eyes in Minneapolis, calls all of us to renew our commitment to working for justice—advancing cultural affirmation and respect, access to good health, education, fair housing, business opportunities, voting, and criminal justice reform. This is our shared responsibility—this is a humanity issue.
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. As Governor of Virginia, I make the commitment to ensure that we continue to address these issues head on, even when it is uncomfortable and difficult because I believe our diversity is our greatest strength.
As protests continue in Minneapolis and nationwide, local groups are uniting on the Southside and the Peninsula Friday evening calling for justice and to demand their voices be heard.