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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, June 12, 2020

Letter from John C. Harrison to the CBA




Dear colleagues:

As I watch the protesters gathering in Miller Park tonight, just outside my office window, I find myself thinking back to the spring of 1991 when Los Angeles police officers were caught on camera savagely beating Rodney King. The images from that video were horrific indeed, leaving one to wonder just how such an event could occur.

But at least, we thought, it will never happen again. Not after this.

Fast forward to the spring of 2020 and we are confronted with a video of a Minneapolis police officer calmly kneeling on George Floyd’s neck until he expired. And unlike the Rodney King incident, the George Floyd incident took place in broad daylight, right in front of onlookers whose comments essentially narrate the video.

But at least it will never happen again. Not after this. Right?

John Adams is often credited with the phrase “a government of laws, not of men.” But laws, and the justice they are intended to effect, are administered by men (and women). And the power to administer that justice is just as surely the power to fail to do so.

I would be remiss in my duties as your president if I were to fail to remind every member of this Bar that we, too, are instruments by which the laws, and the justice they are intended to effect, are administered, and to condemn racism, abuse of power and injustice in all of its forms.