Guilty: Local reaction to conviction of Derek Chauvin

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Floyd Chauvin New York

People rally in Times Square in New York City April 20, 2021 after Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd. – Sacked police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter on April 20 in the death of African-American George Floyd in a case that roiled the United States for almost a year, laying bare deep racial divisions. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

NEW YORK — After weeks of testimony and hours of deliberation, jurors in Minneapolis, Minnesota found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts in the trial of George Floyd’s death.

Floyd’s death triggered worldwide protests, violence and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S., including in New York City. He died last May after Chauvin, a white officer, pinned his knee on or close to the 46-year-old Black man’s neck for about 9 1/2 minutes.

The jury deliberated about 10 hours over two days in a city on edge against another outbreak of unrest.

Local leaders and elected officials reacted to the verdict Tuesday. Their messages, in part, are below:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

“The verdicts delivered today were a powerful statement of accountability. George Floyd’s family and his loved ones got well-deserved closure, and all of us who deeply and personally felt his loss gained hope in the possibility of progress,” he said.

“But while I’m grateful that the jury returned these verdicts, accountability is not the same as justice. It doesn’t make an unacceptable situation acceptable, and it doesn’t bring Gianna’s dad back. But it must fuel our continued march towards equity,” he continued.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy

“George Floyd, like countless other Black Americans whose futures have been unjustly stolen from them, should be alive today,” he said in a statement. “While today’s verdict provides some measure of justice and accountability for the Floyd family and millions of our fellow Americans, all of us must remember that systemic racism is still pervasive in American life. While we are glad that justice has prevailed in this case, George Floyd’s murder is a painful reminder that inequality has deep roots in American history, starting during slavery and continuing to the present day in areas such as wages, health care, housing, education, and treatment by law enforcement. This has been a trying moment in our nation’s history, but we must be resolute in our fight for justice to ensure that the pain of yesterday, and the pain of today, does not become the pain of tomorrow.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James

“Almost one year ago, the Floyd family and communities across this nation were torn apart by the murder of George Floyd. We all watched in helpless desperation as a man was mercilessly killed by the knee of a police officer. Today, there is finally accountability for this atrocious crime that stole the life of a father, brother, son, and friend. I pray that the Floyd family finds some semblance of justice and peace for this horribly unjust act. While true justice will never be served as long as Black men and women are subjected to such inequality, today, we are one step closer to a fairer system.”

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea

Ed Mullins, Sergeants Benevolent Association president, in a memo to union members

The verdict in the Derrick Chauvin case has been rendered. The former Minneapolis police officer was convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. We accept the verdict because it was the product of the constitutional process. That is all we ever ask when a police officer is accused of misconduct.

It is hard to imagine a tougher time to be a member of the law enforcement profession. Police officers throughout the nation have never been more vilified than now. The deafening anti-police rhetoric is here to stay – at least for the foreseeable future. Our elected officials are complicit in perpetuating the myth that we are the enemy.

As police officers, we are duty bound to protect life and property, but I urge you to utilize extreme caution and restraint in everything you do. All your actions are being recorded and there are scores of attorneys eager to find fault with your actions – which in this climate will generate hefty lawsuits that you could be personally responsible for.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries

“In the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, people of good will throughout America spoke up, stood up and showed up to demand justice. The jury has spoken and delivered a just verdict by convicting Derek Chauvin of murder. It’s now time for America to come together, elevate the principle of equal protection under the law and continue this country’s march toward a more perfect union.”

Rep. Mondaire Jones

“In finding Derek Chauvin guilty of murder, the jury has ensured that he is held accountable for his heinous, unconscionable crime. 

“But let me be clear, this verdict is not full justice, for in a just world, George Floyd would still be alive. In a just world, Adam Toledo and Daunte Wright would be in their mothers’ arms right now. In a just world, we would not be faced with a near-daily onslaught of officers assaulting, harassing, and murdering Black people simply for existing. 

“Today, we take solace in this verdict and honor George Floyd’s memory. Tomorrow, we get back to work to create a truly just America for all.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer

“I am thankful for George Floyd’s family, friends, and loved ones that justice has been served. Our country was forever changed by the horrendous video of Derek Chauvin killing Mr. Floyd in cold blood.  This guilty verdict serves as an official proclamation of what so many of us have known for nearly a year: George Floyd was murdered by an officer who was sworn to protect and serve.

“However, we should not mistake a guilty verdict in this case as evidence that the persistent problem of police misconduct has been solved or that the divide between law enforcement and so many of the communities they serve has been bridged. We must remain diligent in our efforts to bring meaningful change to police departments across the country. The Senate will continue that work as we strive to ensure George Floyd’s tragic death will not be in vain.” 

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal

“This was the right verdict. But as a career prosecutor, I know how even a successful trial verdict can leave the families of victims with a sense of emptiness. A conviction cannot undo the trauma; it can never bring back a lost loved one. We simply hope it can bring some closure to those most in pain.  A flawed system laid the groundwork for the death of George Floyd. It’s a system that too often fails to recruit police from the communities they guard, fails to train officers properly, fails to place just limits on the use of force against citizens, and fails to create mechanisms for the independent investigation of misconduct. It’s a system that badly needs reform—here and across the country.  While I am heartened to see some justice done for Mr. Floyd, it is not enough. We must seize this moment, when the nation’s focus has turned to how our communities are policed, to ensure something meaningful comes from a man’s unnecessary death, and to continue with urgency the reforms we have begun to policing practices in New Jersey. “

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