The first anniversary of the murder of George Floyd was marked by a large, diverse crowd that filled the plaza of the former Bucks County Courthouse in Doylestown Tuesday to honor his memory and call for an end to police brutality.
“I think it’s beautiful to see the togetherness of everyone in remembrance of Mr. Floyd,” said Michael Duncan, as he observed the event. Duncan emphasized that he was speaking as a private citizen and not in his capacity as a Bucks County employee.
Speakers at the memorial vigil called on the public to support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and encourage their representatives in Congress to pass the legislation. The House of Representatives passed the bill earlier this month and it’s now being debated in the Senate.
“Your widespread outrage – you have gotten us this far,” Karen Downey, the president of Bucks County NAACP, told the crowd. “Do not look away, do not give up this fight.”
The proposed law seeks to enhance civil rights and reform law enforcement across the country by exposing police misconduct and racial bias in policing. The bill calls for banning chokeholds and overhauling qualified immunity protections for police officers, among other reforms.
“Black lives are not disposable. We must value the dignity of George Floyd’s life,” said Downey. “Justice requires accountability.”
Reports of police abuse and misconduct must be transparent and made public, several speakers said, pointing to Derek Chauvin’s record.
Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer convicted of killing Floyd by kneeling on his neck for nearly 10 minutes, had 18 complaints filed against him since joining the force in 2001, according to a CNN report. Just two resulted in a “closed with discipline” finding.
Dahlia Gumaa, 17, said she attended the memorial to show her respect and pain over the “horrendous tragedy.” The Levittown teen signed a petition supporting the Floyd legislation because, she said, “we must have more justice.”
The 46-year-old Floyd was killed by Chauvin in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. The murder was captured on video by a 17-year-old-girl. It sparked horror and worldwide outrage.