Further to the statement issued by the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs, I would like to offer a personal response to the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis last week, and the events surrounding his death.
Firstly, I would like to extend my condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd. It is a lamentable fact that this is not a one-off event, but the latest in a string of cases of the use of excessive force against black people at the hands of police, of which Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Tony McDade are also very recent victims.
I share the indignation expressed by the dozens of constituents who have contacted me regarding these events. I have been horrified by the grotesque scenes of excessive police force, inflicted not only upon George Floyd, but on the many protestors who have taken to the streets to denounce the systemic racism which informs these brutal killings. I have been appalled by the response of President Trump, which has yet to be officially condemned by the UK government.
Institutional racism is undeniably prevalent here in the UK. The Runnymede Trust found that between 1995 and 2015 no police officer was successfully prosecuted over the death of a black person in custody. Black offenders are also more likely to be sent to prison than white offenders, and as such are over-represented in the prison population. It is vital that such inequalities are addressed, particularly in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, as it is becoming increasingly clear that there are racial disparities surrounding both the fatality of the virus itself for people of colour, and their treatment by authorities over recent weeks. The government’s decision to delay the publication of the inquiry into why black and minority ethnic groups have been disproportionately affected, will only serve to prolong inequality.
I stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and all of those protesting against the racism that continues to plague society both in the US and here in the UK.
-Grahame Morris MP