We are the Mound City Bar Association, the oldest black bar association west of the Mississippi River. We know what we are seeing when we watch a police officer choke the life out of a black man in broad daylight by holding his knee against the man’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, with this man, George Floyd, lying motionless under the weight of the officer’s knee for the last 2 minutes and 53 seconds.
We see lawlessness. We see a civil rights violation. We see a human rights violation. We see a callous disregard of life.
Mound City Bar condemns the reprehensible killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed as he lay prone on a public street, handcuffed behind his back, with a knee jammed in his neck. We speak out against the execution of this man, whose greatest crime might have been that he proffered a counterfeit $20 bill.
Might have. Did he even know the bill was counterfeit? Would you? And what if he did know? It was $20. Mr. Floyd’s life was worth more important than $20. His life mattered. And justice for him matters.
Mound City Bar denounces acts of hate, violence, and discrimination that violate constitutional rights, stifle social justice, and undermine the rule of law. Mound City Bar stands in solidarity with all those who face hate, violence, and discrimination based on the color of their skin. We condemn the death of George Floyd at the hands of those Minneapolis law enforcement officers. We also condemn all incidents of racial and social inequalities, violence, and hate crimes that continue to infect our country. Finally, we denounce attempts to silence the voices of those who are lawfully protesting these injustices.
Mound City Bar calls on all members of our legal community and all members of the public to unify and speak out against hate, violence, and discrimination. We must all actively stand united in defense of our vulnerable communities, the rule of law, and the promotion of the public interest through the advancement of equal justice and protection of liberty for all.
Mound City Bar stands ready to work with community, religious, and government leaders, as well as the law enforcement community, elected officials, and other bar association to ensure we live up to the promise and ideals upon which this country was founded. Together we can ensure that, as the Preamble to the United States Constitution promised, we have “a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”
Mound City Bar grieves for and stands with Mr. Floyd’s family. We stand with those peacefully seeking redress of the injustice that occurred to Mr. Floyd and the injustices that continue to occur against black and brown people throughout these United States. We stand with those seeking solutions. We will be actively seeking them, too.
Chalana M. Scales-Ferguson is interim president of the Mound City Bar Association. This was written in collaboration with the membership of Mound City Bar.