On February 23, 2020, Ahmaud Arbery was jogging in his own neighborhood when two men saw him. They thought he looked like a man believed to be responsible for several break-ins in the neighborhood. Mr. Arbery was chased down in a pickup truck, shot, and killed by two white men.
On March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor was sleeping in her bedroom when police officers rushed into her home executing a “no-knock” warrant. The police believed Ms. Taylor’s home was used by other men to receive packages of drugs. She was not a suspect. They used a battering ram to break down the door and burst into her house unannounced. Her boyfriend believed they were being robbed and pulled his legally owned gun. The officers then shot both residents. Breonna was hit 8 times and died.
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was buying cigarettes when an employee called 911 and accused him of using a counterfeit $20 bill. Seventeen minutes after the first officer arrived on scene, George Floyd showed no signs of life. That day, for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the neck of George Floyd. When George Floyd desperately pled, “I can’t breathe,” Derek Chauvin did not remove his knee. When George Floyd lost consciousness, Derek Chauvin did not remove his knee. When the paramedics arrived, Derek Chauvin still did not remove his knee. Derek Chauvin did not remove his knee until a full minute had passed after the paramedics arrived on the scene. Throughout these events, three other police officers stood by and did nothing. Derek Chauvin’s actions—and the inaction of the other three officers—murdered George Floyd.
Just as the country was beginning to open after coronavirus restrictions begun being lifted, the tragedy of George Floyd’s death has rocked the nation and sparked protests around the country and the world. First, the protests erupted in Minneapolis where George Floyd was murdered. Then the protests expanded to all 50 states and multiple countries around the globe. The protestors demanded that charges be filed against all officer’s involved in Mr. Floyd’s death. The protests were both peaceful and had outbreaks of violence. Ultimately, it took four days for the first charges to be filed when Mr. Chauvin was charged with third degree murder. Five days after that, Mr. Chauvin’s charge was upgraded to second degree murder and the other three officers were charged with aiding and abetting murder.
We in Denver were not immune from the plague of injustice. Protestors flooded the streets in front of the capitol building and chanted for justice. Just like in protests around the nation, police used tear gas and non-lethal projectiles to disperse demonstrations. An curfew was put in place by the city of Denver, and the police charged protestors with violation of curfew and failure to obey a lawful order – a charge that Mr. Krizman argued was unconstitutional during his time as a public defender and a belief he holds to this day.
Thankfully, almost all charges were dropped against protestors who were arrested simply for exercising their first amendment right. Not only that, but almost all of the rioting and looting has stopped, and peaceful protests are continuing around the country. Calls for change continue around the nation and the world. This time, with the help of so many people, there is hope that something might actually be done about police brutality.
On August 9, 2014, an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by a white police officer. This event sparked weeks of protests around St. Louis as the predominantly black community clashed with an almost completely white police force. These protests helped to spark the Black Lives Matter movement and amplified calls for change throughout the country.
It’s been almost six years since the riots in Ferguson, and not enough has changed. It’s time to stop being ‘shocked’ and ‘saddened’ by continued police brutality and racism and actually act. It’s time to make a stand. We at Krizman Law stand relentlessly with those who are ready to force the government to make real and lasting change to the criminal justice system.
Mr. Krizman is a criminal defense attorney in Denver, Colorado. He specializes in providing relentless defense for domestic violence, DUI, and drug crimes. He is a former public defender who has also worked for a district attorney and is licensed in the State of Colorado, and the United States Federal Court, District of Colorado. Mr. Krizman is a member of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, Colorado Bar Association, Denver Bar Association, and Arapahoe County Bar Association. A Colorado native, he has a law degree from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and a bachelor’s degree in Government and World Affairs from the University of Tampa. Call him today at 720.819.7317.