The unjustifiable killing of Mr. Floyd by officers of the Minneapolis Police Department was brazen, cruel and entirely avoidable. The events that followed in Minneapolis called out for action. We recognize too that the tragic killing of the handcuffed Mr. Floyd is one of several killings of unarmed Black people that catalyzed civil protests across the nation aimed at eradicating systemic racism, reforming policing practices and awakening a broader cross-section of the nation to the urgency of the demands for social justice.
WilmerHale recognizes the personal pain and anguish that killings of unarmed Black people, including Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others, cause for communities of Black people, including within our firm, and know that our broader WilmerHale community, like so many across the nation, shares in the distress and the belief that this unacceptable pattern must change.
With the fervent desire that this moment of national suffering and protest be channeled for meaningful and durable police reform, WilmerHale has recommitted itself to do its part to ensure change.
- We joined in a day of reflection on June 9, 2020 to focus on the unjustifiable killings, use of excessive force and systemic racism, and to focus on our commitment to effect change.
- Firm management led fundraising efforts for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights (National), and the VERA Institute for Justice.
- Annually, we pledge to select two fellows to work at any civil rights organization committed to addressing issues related to systemic racism, criminal justice and police accountability. Senior Associate Nina Garcia, the firm’s current Payton fellow, is working with Lawyers for Civil Rights in Boston, and Senior Associate Keun Young Bae, the firm’s current Pickering fellow, is working with the City Bar Justice Center in New York.
- We have established a pro bono client initiative for a variety of efforts focused on addressing police reform and other social inequities affecting Black people in the United States.
- For example, we are committed to addressing police accountability and meaningful reform through pro bono work, tapping into our lawyers’ experience both within and outside the government, and their work with civil rights organizations. We expect that others in our community will join our ongoing and rapidly expanding efforts.
- We continue to provide legal assistance to members of our community, as well as others, who are arrested in any peaceful protest.
These are the initial steps in our efforts to ensure meaningful change, and we continue to build on and expand this work.