MONTPELIER — On the one-year anniversary of an incident in Minneapolis that caught the nation’s attention, Gov. Phil Scott is issuing a proclamation designating May 25 as "George Floyd Remembrance Day" in Vermont.
A video released last year of Floyd, an unarmed black man, laying on the ground with a white police officer’s knee on his neck gripped the nation.
In his proclamation Scott says “One year ago today, George Floyd, an African American man, was murdered by a police officer. His death under the knee of someone charged with protecting all citizens, and caught on video for all to see, was a terrible tragedy – one that sparked grief and outrage around the country."
The Governor says that the incident inspired a national reckoning on racial justice and equity and the role we all play to address these issues.
“This event also caused states and communities throughout the country, including Vermont, to reevaluate how to modernize the delivery of law enforcement services and create improved policies and practices to better serve our communities,” says Scott.
On April 20, a jury found Officer Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
In Vermont, Scott says that legislative actions including Acts 147, 163 and 166 of 2020, as well as Executive Order 3-20 were implemented to accelerate a series of reforms to modernize law enforcement services.
“They also initiated a comprehensive, ongoing discussion with Vermonters - especially historically marginalized communities about how law enforcement can best serve the needs of communities,” says Scott.
Current Legislative action also aims to address all uses of force as well as the use of lethal force, including chokeholds. Scott says this will implement one of the most stringent use of force laws in the country.
“The Vermont State Police are committed to continuing their leadership in the area of fair and impartial policing. On the anniversary of Mr. Floyd’s death, while we remember this loss and reflect on progress, we must also remember that much work remains to ensure fair, equitable and just policing and justice under the law,” says Scott.