A Message from the Dean of Elon Law on Justice and George Floyd

Luke Bierman emailed the Elon Law community on April 20, 2021, following the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, whose murder nearly one year ago led to national protests and a renewed push for racial justice.

Luke Bierman, dean of Elon University School of Law

Students and colleagues:

Please indulge me briefly to complement President Book’s message while reiterating that University resources are available to those who may need support during a traumatic period of American history….

Jurors today, in convicting Derek Chauvin for George Floyd’s murder, showed us that it is possible for victims of illegal police violence to achieve justice through due process in a court of law. This is what we believe as participants in legal education – adhere to a legal process, improve those processes where inequities, especially for Black Americans, exist and use our knowledge to improve the American system of justice. It is why our profession is of such value to society and why we all work so hard to enable and empower the next generation of lawyers.

Today’s verdict was made possible by what we witnessed in the bystander videos of George Floyd’s arrest and murder. Absent videos, recorded by citizens who placed themselves in a volatile moment knowing they were bearing witness to an unfolding tragedy, it is impossible to say what might have happened in this trial. Many families across our nation have lost loved ones at the hands of police in circumstances that have given us pause but with no video to confirm facts and circumstances. Let us keep these families in our thoughts as they seek healing without the possibility of justice witnessed today in a Minneapolis court of law. After all: Black Lives Matter.

Dean Bierman