People who took action after former Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd last year can't let up in the wake of Chouvin's conviction, lawyer and advocate Michael Curry told Boston Public Radio on Wednesday.
Chauvin was convicted Tuesday on three counts of murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death. It was just the second time in Minnesota's history that an officer was held accountable in court for killing a civilian. Across the country, convinctions are even more rare — only five non-federal officers have been convicted of murder during an on-duty shooting since 2005 and had those convictions stick,according to NPR.
Curry, a member of the NAACP Board of Directors, said that people stay vigilant in their calls for racial equity.
"Right now, we have to wake up this morning and know that, as Martin Luther King's daughter said yesterday, she reminded us 'the arc of the moral universe bends towards justice,'" he said. "But the reality is you've got to make it bend. You've got to show up and demand that your elected official votes the right way on police reform or criminal justice reform."
Curry also said that there will be an inevitable backlash from people in America who hold "racial animus" as President Joe Biden pushes for a federal policing bill in Floyd's name.
"There is a backlash coming to all of this," he said. "I’m going to tell you, history — the past — is prologue. There was a backlash to Reconstruction. There’s going to be a backlash to the Biden years, in particular this movement to use reconciliation, because you're not going to get enough Republican votes."
Reconciliation — the route that Democrats took to pass COVID-19 relief with just 50 votes in the Senate — wouldnot be an option for Democrats to pass police reform under current Senate rules.
"You're going to have many Americans who carry racial animus — who feel it's too much about these Black folks, too much about justice, too much about blaming us. And you're going to have a backlash," Curry said. "Expect it to come. It's coming. It just means you've got to now show up and be vigilant."
"This hatred, this racial animus," he added, "will not go quietly."