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The  National Association of Jewish Legislators (NAJL) finds the death of George Floyd not only tragic, but completely avoidable. This nation has seen too much needless force used by police officers who step outside the bounds of their pledge to protect our residents. Last week’s murder has resulted in rioting and looting in many of our cities, often bolstered by outside agitators who build on others anger  and seek to tear the nation apart.

NAJL joins in solidarity with Black Americans and unites with all people in our quest for equality, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or national origin.  

 We understand the pain and horror caused by the unjustified police killing of an American citizen. Mr. Floyd’s untimely death must result in a deep and ongoing search for what we require of our police officers, how to hold them accountable and how to best advance public safety. We reject the personal and systemic racism that led to Mr. Floyd’s death and choose instead to build safe communities by observing the inherent dignity of the lives of Black Americans. 

 As we learn from the Torah, “You shall appoint magistrates and officials for your tribes, in all the settlements that the Lord your God is giving you, and they shall govern the people with due justice. You shall not judge unfairly: you shall show no partiality. . . .Justice, justice shall you pursue" (Deut. 16:18-20).

On behalf of Jewish legislators across the nation, we express our collective sorrow and deepest condolences to the family of George Floyd for his killing at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

 The reports and accompanying video footage of his death are horrifically disturbing and appear to represent an all-too-familiar feature of the lives of people of color and Indigenous people – especially of Black men – in interactions with law enforcement agencies. 

We recommit to the longstanding bonds between  Black and Jewish communities to support racially equitable  laws that bring accountability, greater humanity, and community-centered public safety while ending the killings of people of color and Indigenous people at the hands of law enforcement. 
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