News Releases
June 02, 2020

Boston Bar Association Statement on George Floyd and Equal Rights Under Law

Letter or Statement

The Boston Bar Association joins with others in the City of Boston, Massachusetts and throughout the nation in condemning the actions of law enforcement that led to the violent death of George Floyd. As lawyers, it is our responsibility to uphold the fundamental tenets of our democratic society: equal rights under the law and adherence to the rule of law. We must acknowledge that equal rights under the law cannot exist in a criminal justice system where those who are delegated the duty to enforce the law fail to exercise that duty without discrimination and with due process for all. We must acknowledge that the rule of law cannot prevail in a criminal justice system that too often reveals that individual and systemic racism persists in our society.

Across our nation, and here in Boston, people have exercised their constitutional right to protest yet another disturbing incident of police brutality directed at a black or brown person and to call for change. We share the legitimate and deep-seated frustration and anger that so many members of our community are now experiencing and support nonviolent demonstrations to express their concerns. The wrongful acts by a few, who do not represent the vast majority of protesters or their communities, also undermine the rule of law, but they should not distract us from acknowledging the urgent need to work together to effectuate meaningful change.

Although the BBA has a longstanding commitment to improving our justice system, we recognize that our society still has not made equal rights under the law a reality. We therefore recommit to listening to and collaborating with those members of our community who have suffered especially heightened pain and grief as a result of these inequities, so that during the weeks ahead we can then take tangible steps toward identifying long overdue solutions. As a community and as a society, we simply cannot tolerate the broken system that the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others continue to expose.