George Floyd was a father, a brother, and a son. He loved spending time with his family and friends, who have said his smile would light up a room. He should still be alive today.
The murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer a year ago today sparked racial justice protests across our state and across the world. Thousands of Nevadans took to the streets to call for an end to racial profiling and police violence, and although many state leaders expressed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement — the Legislature even declared racism a public health crisis — they have tackled only modest reforms.
Nevada leaders should not be using the memory of George Floyd to promote meager reforms. Little has been accomplished to bring greater transparency and accountability to Nevada’s law enforcement establishment. To truly honor George Floyd, our state must get serious about racial justice and ending police violence.
With the close of the 2021 session just days away, the Nevada Legislature is considering Senate Bill 452, an incredibly dangerous bill that will give Nevada casinos the green light to engage in deadly and discriminatory stop-and-frisk encounters between police and civilians. Across the U.S., stop-and-frisk policies, masked by talking points about improving public safety, have led to racially biased enforcement, and for people of color who are already disproportionately impacted by law enforcement policies, the proposition is especially dangerous.
The only remotely redeemable legislation remaining is Assembly Bill 116, which would decriminalize minor traffic offenses and eliminate the practice of issuing arrest warrants to those who cannot afford to pay traffic fines and fees. But if our state leaders are serious about honoring the memory of George Floyd, the casino stop-and-frisk bill must not move forward.
“Legislative leaders promised to deliver meaningful racial justice policies, yet here we are, on the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, fighting back a stop-and-frisk bill," ACLU of Nevada policy director Holly Welborn said. "It doesn’t honor George Floyd, and it’s completely tone deaf. SB452 will expose people of color to volatile and potentially deadly police encounters.”
The ACLU of Nevada's executive director, Athar Haseebullah, said casinos and police have routinely engaged in racial profiling against people of color, especially Black men and women.
"SB452 creates a new and deadly pipeline for increasing unwanted interactions between police and civilians at the discretion of individual casinos, and does so under a public safety justification, much the same way stop-and-frisk was justified in New York City," he said. "If we learned anything from the murder of George Floyd, it’s that reducing unwanted and unnecessary interactions between police and communities of color is critical to preserving life. To reverse course now and subject people of color to unwanted contact with police unknowingly is reckless. Even police think this bill is dangerous.”