In the News: Dr. Yohuru Williams on the Exoneration of Black People

Founding Director of the Racial Justice Initiative Dr. Yohuru Williams commented for The Root on the increase in exonerations for Black citizens in recent decades.

From the article: Dr. Yohuru Williams, founding Director of the Racial Justice Initiative at the University of St. Thomas, says all of the above. “It’s definitely not a coincidence. In fact, I would argue that it’s a trend that has developed and accelerated post the murder of George Floyd.”

He acknowledges that many of these cases were already being discussed and there was pressure on officials in cases like the Groveland Four and the accused shooters of Malcolm X.

According to Williams, “the Floyd case accelerated this reckoning with problems in our criminal justice system that have led to and perpetuated these wrongful convictions of men of color, in particular, African American men. It put some real fire behind getting what most people would call ‘essential justice.’ That’s the idea that justice was denied in the moment, but in correcting the record, you are, in some sense, righting that wrong, at least in terms of the state recognizing officially that these individuals were, in fact, not guilty.”