Ben Crump Says He Wants to End 'Legalized Genocide': 'They're Killing African Americans'

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is known for representing the families of Black Americans slain or injured by police officers, said Sunday that U.S. laws "that are supposed to protect us are being used to kill us."

In a CBS News' Sunday Morning interview, Crump described his daily legal fight against what he describes as the "legalized genocide of colored people" across America. He was pressed by special contributor host Ted Koppel on his use of the word "genocide," which the high-profile attorney defended as the best description of U.S. treatment of Black people.

"Genocide is a very particular legal term with a very particular legal definition. You're a lawyer; you understand the power of words, Ben," Koppel asked Crump. "And when you accuse the United States in the 21st century of genocide, that has a lot of weight."

"Exactly," Crump replied. "When you think about what Black people have been suffering for 400 years in America, since 1619, when the first enslaved Africans were brought to America, I would argue that legalized genocide – when you think about how the very laws that are supposed to protect us are being used to kill us. When you think about what happens in every city, in every state, in every courtroom in America, every day, they're killing African Americans, they're killing marginalized people of color, using the law, whether it's killing them physically, or it's killing them legally with these trumped-up felony convictions."

The attorney penned a 2019 book entitled Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People, which defined the word "genocide" as "the intent to destroy in whole or in part, a group of people."

The interview highlighted several national spotlight cases of unarmed Black people being killed, including the 2012 slaying of teenager Trayvon Martin. At the time, Crump said, "once again, law enforcement is attempting to demonize and blame the victim."

Crump said law enforcement "continue to kill unarmed Black people over and over again," as he highlighted victims ranging from George Floyd to Breonna Taylor. Crump agreed with Koppel saying mayors and police departments across the U.S. fear his name and that he's "undefeated" in court.

"And for every case that we have represented a family in a police brutality matter," Crump said of his representation of numerous high-profile police brutality cases, "we've either gotten a verdict or a settlement. Unfortunately, hardly any of these police ever go to prison."

Koppel pressed Crump on the financial benefit of seeking out police brutality cases across the country. Crump acknowledged that his firm received 30 percent of the $12 million paid out by the City of Louisville in Kentucky to the family of Breonna Taylor.

"Well, I will tell you, Ted, the police brutality division of my law firm is the least profitable of all of the divisions in my law firm," Crump replied. "For every Breonna Taylor, there is a hundred Black people and Brown people who have been killed by the police, unjustifiably, that you don't make a penny on. But you take the case because it's the right thing to do."

Crump represented Floyd's family during the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty on April 20 of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd last year. Crump and Floyd's relatives released a statement at the time that read: "Today's verdict goes far beyond this city and has significant implications for the country and even the world. This case is a turning point in American history for accountability of law enforcement and sends a clear message we hope is heard clearly in every city and every state."

Newsweek reached out to Crump's law offices for additional remarks.

ben crump attorney daunte wright
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump arrives with family members of Daunte Wright for Wright's funeral service at Shiloh Temple International Ministries on April 22, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Twenty-year-old Wright was killed on April 11 by Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter, who has since resigned from the force and has been charged with second-degree manslaughter for the shooting. SCOTT OLSON / Staff/Getty Images