Mr. George Floyd, an unarmed, handcuffed African American man, was mercilessly and brutally killed by Derek Chauvin, a white police officer. It is hard to understand why Chauvin was employed by the Minneapolis Police Department, as it has been revealed that he had at least 18 prior incidents of misconduct known to the Department leaders. Only after the senseless killing of Mr. Floyd did the Chief of Police fire Chauvin.

On behalf of and with the members of my Office, I extend our deepest condolences to Mr. Floyd’s family, friends and his community. We join those who raise their voices against police brutality, racism and inequity.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office is comprised of a diverse group of professionals. We are united in our condemnation of racism, racial profiling, or bigotry in our society and particularly in the justice system. Through our policy developments, we are committed to continuing to dismantle generations of inequity and inequality. We continue to build systems of justice that uncover implicit bias and we embrace and uphold a justice system that is fair, equal and equitable for all. We work with members of our community to ensure fair justice, including providing alternatives to incarceration and resources for those caught up in the criminal justice system to support their choice of the future direction of their lives. We work with victims of crime to support, empower and provide resources to support their movement beyond victimization.

Thousands of individuals came together Friday to what began as a peaceful, meaningful and solemn protest in Oakland. They established a space in which to express shared outrage and grief over the brutal killing of Mr. Floyd. Without question, the people who took to the streets to denounce police brutality and the horrific killing had the absolute right to publicly decry their outrage. Their voices and their messages are important and must be heard. With great misfortune, the evening turned to one of violence and destruction. Individuals, some of whom are believed to be outsiders to Oakland, appeared hell bent on hijacking the moment. The protest turned into a spree of looting and vandalism. Two men, working as security at the Oakland Federal Building, were senselessly gunned down by people in a white van. One of the victims, David Patrick Underwood, an African American man, was killed. The other remains in the hospital.

The violence returned on Saturday night. Outright looting of stores, such as Best Buy, Target and Walgreens as well as destruction of locally owned restaurants, buildings and stores, distracting from the message the protesters aimed to convey.

As District Attorney of Alameda County, I wholeheartedly support the individual’s right to protest, to gather peacefully and to demonstrate. Protests over the decade have led to hugely important societal change.

Sadly, the local and national dialogue shifted from the important issues of racism, police brutality and the unjust killing of unarmed black men at the hands of law enforcement. Rather, all eyes turned to the destruction wrought by out-of-control vandals. Moving forward, my office and I will continue to work with our community, we will continue to create programs and policies that support victims of crime and we will continue to assist those who are justice involved to move beyond the criminal justice system. We will continue to provide opportunities for young people to build skills and build hope for a bright and safe future.

Posted on May 31, 2020