The ongoing trial of three ex-Minneapolis police officers who did not stop Derek Chauvin from killing George Floyd could better usher in police accountability and prevent deaths than the trial of Chauvin himself, says former U.S. Justice Department civil rights attorney Christy Lopez. She writes in the Washington Post that the trial is unprecedented and that while "duty to intervene" has existed for 50 years, it has rarely led to prosecution until now. Lopez says she hopes that the trial and recent firings of officers for excessive use of force could be a sign that the culture in the police force is changing to encourage "active bystandership". Active bystandership training emphasizes an officer's duty to stop fellow officers, regardless of rank, from using excessive force.
Lopez says she hopes that this change will lead to fewer deaths from incidents instead of accountability after-the-fact. The three officers who stood by are charged with failing to render aid to Floyd. One officer, Thomas K. Lane, asked twice if Floyd should be turned over on his side, but did not intervene. Lopez now co-directs Georgetown University's Innovative Policing Program.