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NASW Arkansas is appalled by the brutal and senseless murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, by white police officers in Minneapolis. We are also disgusted by the actions of a white woman in New York who made false accusations to the police against Christopher Cooper, a Black man, putting his life in danger. We urge reforms that would help end racial profiling and excessive use of police force and improve relations between police and the communities they serve.

We recognize that our society cannot ignore the overwhelming evidence that men of color, especially Black men, are more likely to be killed during a use of force encounter with police than other racial or ethnic groups.

NASW Arkansas supports several initiatives to lessen incidences of such deaths, including national standards on the use of lethal police force, training to help end police bias and racial profiling when dealing with people of color, making body cameras standard police equipment, and the use of social workers in the field.

NASW Arkansas recommends that members of the social work profession, which has a long history of pushing for social justice, work for reforms in the nation’s law enforcement system. We are encouraged that the Justice Department and FBI have pledged to undertake a “robust criminal investigation” into Mr. Floyd’s death. We appreciate that police chiefs across the U.S., many of whom have been pushing their officers to de-escalate tense situations and decrease their use of force, responded with disgust Wednesday, and praised Minneapolis’s chief for firing the officers involved.

NASW Arkansas offers its condolences to the family of George Floyd. As a society, we need to do much more to protect communities of color from continued assault, death, and trauma. You can support the Color of Change #JusticeforFloyd campaign to demand the officers who killed George Floyd are charged with murder by signing the petition at or texting “Floyd” to 55156.