On June 15, 2020, MSP Vice President Diane Zalapi wrote the following letter to the community.
Dear MSP Community:
I am sickened and outraged by the killing of Rayshard Brooks on Friday evening by an Atlanta police officer. I keep coming back to this not in disbelief because, as we know too well, this type of criminal activity is all too believable. But for this to occur in the midst of weeks of protests against police brutality across this nation and the world demonstrates how very long this road will continue to be.
That this senseless act sparks more outrage is a good thing. A heartening sign is that swift action was taken in the termination of the officer, the resignation of the Chief of Police, the homicide ruling, and that charges are already being considered by the Atlanta District Attorney.
It is so very clear that systemic change takes time. The abuses of power that have been fostered, tolerated, or ignored must be met with zero tolerance. Those who abuse their power must be held accountable. Criminal repercussions must be paired with a sustained effort to change those aspects of police culture that turn away from these acts of injustice.
Racist acts by the police are heinous. But racism isn’t limited to only those with power and guns. Action big and small is needed – because even small acts of racism kill – maybe not with the efficacy of a gun, but over time, with equal force.
I am committed to both the big and small, looking internally at my personal and professional world, but also as a member of this human society – which promises both joy and pain. I will not be complacent, and will work with others at our Institution to stand up and be in this for the long haul.
We must do this for each other, for our children, and for all that have paid, and may continue to pay, the ultimate price – with their lives.