Floyd’s death spurs question: What is a black life worth?
The response to the outrage over Floyd’s death doesn’t have to be defunding police, said Arthur Rizer, who directs the criminal justice program at R Street, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit that favors limited, effective government. The response could instead be to reform laws and policies that disproportionately criminalize black people, he said.
“There’s so many nickel-and-dime laws around that we really have to review what we have, what we need and then get rid of some of these things,” said Rizer, who is white and previously worked as a patrol officer in Washington state and as a federal prosecutor in California.
Under Minnesota law, the counterfeiting charge that cost Floyd his life carries a jail sentence of up to a year, or a maximum of five years of imprisonment for a repeat offender. Even if there was probable cause to investigate Floyd, the law doesn’t require “a very intense arrest on the spot,” Rizer said.
“If I would have been (Floyd), they would not have assumed that I was trying to do something bad,” he said. “They would have probably assumed that it was some type of accident. That is a big piece that I think we need to focus on.”