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'We must confront society's comfort with racism': Evers calls on legislature, Wisconsinites to take action against injustice

Governor Evers in blue suit
Posted at 12:43 PM, Jun 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-02 14:07:37-04

Gov. Tony Evers is urging Wisconsinites to show support and compassion amid unrest in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

Evers released a video statement on Tuesday, following several days and nights of protests throughout the state.

"Over the past few days, we have been grieving as another Black life was extinguished before our eyes. His name was George Floyd. He was 46. His life matters. His family deserves justice. And he should still be alive today," said Evers. "But his death was not an anomaly. We hear the echo of the words of Eric Garner. We relive the pain of the death of Black Wisconsinites like Dontre Hamilton, Sylville Smith, Ernest Lacy, and Tony Robinson. We listen to the call and repeat, answered by generations of Black voices who’ve marched before in these very same streets."

Evers also called on the Wisconsin Legislature to to pass Assembly Bill 1012, a bill introduced in March 2020.

The bill would require law enforcement agencies to publicly available policy on use of force incorporates the following principles: "the primary duty of of all law enforcement is to preserve the life of all individuals; that deadly force is to be used only as the last resort; that officers should use skills and tactics that minimize the likelihood that force will become necessary; that, if officers must use physical force, it should be the least amount of force necessary to safely address the threat; and that law enforcement officers must take reasonable action to stop or prevent any unreasonable use of force by their colleagues. This bill also prohibits disciplining a law enforcement officer for reporting a violation of a law enforcement agency's policy regarding the use of force.This bill also requires the Law Enforcement Standards Board to develop a model use of force policy for law enforcement agencies. The model policy must address interactions with individuals with mental disorders, alcohol or drug problems, dementia disorders, and developmental disabilities; limit the use of force against vulnerable populations; and include other best practices that LESB identifies."

"We must confront society’s comfort with racism. We must reestablish trust with communities of color. We must be willing to listen, we must be willing to be uncomfortable, we must be willing to do the work. We must lay bare the notion that this is not who we are. It is who we have been. It is who we are. But it is not who we have to be tomorrow," said Evers. "I have seen hope in those who've joined this cause in support, who've lent a hand to a neighbor, who’ve showed up with brooms and dustbins in hand to help clean up our neighborhoods. We must use this dark moment to begin to be an example for the rest of the nation. Wisconsin will lead, we will listen, and we are going to put in the work. Please be kind to each other, support each other, and keep each other safe tonight and in the days ahead. We have work to do tomorrow, together."

Watch the governor's full video below:

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