SAARA of Virginia on the Derek Chauvin Verdict


Betsy Stewart

SAARA of Virginia


SAARA of Virginia on the Derek Chauvin Verdict 

Richmond, Virginia, 04/21/2021 - In response to the jury returning a guilty verdict for Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, Victor McKenzie Jr, Executive Director of SAARA of Virginia, released the following statement: 


"Yesterday's verdict proved the jury saw through the defense's shameful attempt to paint George Floyd's addiction and past drug use as a justification for his death by the knee of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.  


Though this outcome is a step in the right direction and gives us hope, it does not replace the damage done or the life of George Floyd. We still have much work to do.


The stigmatization of drug use and addiction has long been used to rob individuals of their dignity and humanity, all while justifying harsh treatment by police. Collectively, we must end the failed war on drug policies that perpetuate the criminalization of addiction and instead address it as a public health crisis.


SAARA will continue to advocate for treatment and resources for those affected by Substance Use Disorder and ensure addiction is met with help and not violence."


Substance Abuse and Addiction Recovery Alliance (SAARA) of Virginia is a 501c3 Recovery Advocacy Organization for individuals and families affected by substance use disorder in Virginia. SAARA is supported by the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant by contract with the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.