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Sacramento therapist weighs in on characterization of George Floyd

“That’s not how it works. We don’t get to dictate who belongs in our society and who doesn’t," said Dr. Vernessa Roberts.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In the trial of Derek Chauvin, the defense has put certain aspects of George Floyd’s life, namely addiction and substance abuse, on display for the jury. Sacramento therapist Dr. Vernessa Roberts shared her thoughts about the themes presented in the trial.

“Because of the drug use, we will label them as a bad person, and that’s justification for our actions. This happens time and time again,” explained Dr. Roberts.

She said the truth is that many people suffer from addiction but the systemic problem is rarely addressed.

“Now, since it’s convenient, we want to shed light on this issue. But really shed light in a negative way. That this individual is a bad person, because of this addiction,” said Dr. Roberts. It gives them a reason to put everyone in a category of ‘They are just…blank.’ So they are just a drug addict. They are just mentally ill. They are just a criminal, a thug, all these names.”

Dr. Roberts explained the truth is ugly.

“We’re really taking away the fact they’re actually human. So they still deserve some type of justice, some type of fair treatment. Just because they are blank, doesn’t give someone the right to have them kneeled on the ground or pinned down on the ground with their knee and their back and neck for over 9 minutes,” she said.

Dr. Roberts admits she has to keep a distance from the trial for her own mental health.

“I find myself even catching up a little on social media. I start to feel those feelings of, like, what’s going on, these witnesses coming up, some people’s comments, and getting triggered. So I have to step away,” she admitted.

Dr. Roberts explained why so many people feel attached to what happens in the Derek Chauvin trial.

“We want this system to start doing what it should do for all people. Right. Not just some people. And so I think that’s why we’re seeing so many people resonating with this. And being so attached to this and wanting more from it. Because we’re tired of the same pattern,” she said.

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