Calls for expansion of victims’ rights in wake of police violence

The conviction of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd is being called one step toward restoring trust in the justice system, not just by advocates and analysts, but by police leaders across New Jersey and the nation. But they say solving the root problem, and healing, will take much longer.

One day after the verdict in Minneapolis, Ryan Haygood of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, attended a rally in Newark. He said, “I want to recognize the extraordinary verdict that was issued and how that is a representation of legal justice but at the same time we know that’s not justice because George Floyd is not here today.”

Deborah Smith Gregory, president of Newark NAACP, said, “Before we celebrate, we need to hear how much time he actually will get, not how much time he can get. Before we celebrate we need to know that while the jury has spoken, the punishment is not diluted with legal maneuvers.”

State attorneys general, including New Jersey’s, released a National Crime Victims’ Agenda Thursday, urging lawmakers to expand victims’ rights, end discrimination and ensure more speedy help for all crime victims, prioritizing the needs of Black, brown and underserved individuals.

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