Police Violence and Racism in the United States

On 25 May, George Floyd, an African-American man, was the victim of a police blunder in Minneapolis after he was suspected of using a fake banknote. His death shortly after his arrest by the police triggered a wave of protests against racism, discrimination and police violence across the country - a subject also debated in France. 

Many Americans are now marching in the streets, holding up signs with George Floyd's last words: "I can't breathe" as the police officer rested his knee on his neck. Many demonstrations of support are taking place around the world.

Disproportionate police attacks, unequal treatment in court and insults against African-Americans have become increasingly common in recent years. Volt denounces these practices and supports the African-American community in its fight for equal treatment and against racism.

However, it would be too easy today to say that George Floyd's death and racism are "only American issues". Police violence, racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are realities in Europe too - and particularly in France.

In 2016, the case of Adama Traoré, a young black man who died shortly after his arrest by gendarmerie officers, was the cause of numerous demonstrations in France. This case shows us that racism is present in all administrations (police, judiciary, schools, …) This is why we must no longer only denounce racism and discrimination against minorities, but continuously fight against their structural omnipresence. It is up to the political authorities to take up these questions and provide answers!

Moreover, in recent years, many citizens have expressed their feeling of insecurity towards the police, as they say that they are frequently "facially inspected". This is not just a feeling; Jacques Toubon, the Human Rights Defender, stated in a survey carried out in 2016 that young men "perceived as black or Arab" are "20 times more likely than others to be checked", even though these practices are prohibited by Article 434-16 of the Internal Security Code.

This is why it is important today to engage in a public debate on such difficult issues as racism and discrimination, so that we can evolve into an ever more open society, in which everyone feels they belong.

We must listen to the citizens concerned, we must give them a voice and a place in the decision-making process. We cannot remain silent and do nothing in the face of such behaviour!

Volt France calls for greater transparency in police and judicial proceedings, so that full light can be shed on any discriminatory behaviour that may have taken place within public institutions.  

"United in diversity' is Europe's motto. Let's show that we can live up to this open, progressive Europe, in which everyone can enjoy the same opportunities without being defined by their skin colour, religion or origin. All voices count to build this Europe!