On Wednesday in an apparent attempt at “solidarity” with those angered over the death of the late eight-time convicted drug addict George Floyd, Sen. Martin Heinrich sent out an email to his fundraising list titled “justice and reform.”
The email touched on the George Floyd trial and the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin. He wrote, “Yesterday, Chauvin was found guilty on all charges in the murder of George Floyd. The jury saw what we all knew — that George Floyd was cruelly and needlessly murdered. This verdict can’t bring him back, but I hope that it can grant a measure of comfort to his loved ones and set our nation on a path of reform.”
“We mourn George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Antonio Valenzuela, Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, Ma’Khia Bryant, and all of the other Black, Latino, and Native American men, women, and children whose lives have been cut short. For too long, we received no answers, no justice, and no accountability,” he added.
Interestingly, Heinrich included the name of Ma’Khia Bryant of Columbus Ohio, who experts state explicitly was not a victim of police violence. Bryant, who was shot dead, charged at two individuals with a large knife after repeatedly being told by the officer to stop before shooting her as she lunged at another woman with the knife.
According to Philip Stinson, a Bowling Green State University professor who has compiled nationwide statistics on fatal shootings that have led to criminal charges against officers, “from looking at the video, it appears to me that a reasonable police officer would have had a reasonable apprehension of an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death being imposed against an officer or someone else. That’s the legal standard.”
Others, including basketball player LeBron James have been blasted for trying to politicize the justified killing of Bryant to advance a political agenda. James posted a tweet featuring the police officer involved in the shooting. His tweet read, “YOU’RE NEXT,” which many interpreted as a threat on the officer’s life.
It is unclear if Heinrich stands by James’ statement, but his use of Bryant to further a political agenda should be noted, for the evidence is still coming out, showing the policeman who shot Bryant was, indeed, acting within the bounds of his training and the law. Heinrich also used the opportunity to promote the newly signed New Mexico anti-police bill, H.B. 4, but he said he wants national reform on policing. Heinrich wrote:
Earlier this month, New Mexico took an important step forward by enacting important reforms in our criminal justice system. It’s time to take up similar reforms on the national level, beginning with the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.