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Statements and Quotes on the George Floyd Verdict

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Statement Concerning the Chauvin Verdict from Will Jawando, former Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement under President Barack Obama and current Councilmember At-Large of Montgomery County, Maryland.

 
Last year, the whole world watched while George Floyd was slowly choked to death in broad daylight by a police officer. It was abundantly clear then what the jury decided today: that former officer Derek Chauvin is guilty of murder. George Floyd should be alive today, surrounded by the people who love him. 

The heartbreaking truth is this is one case that was caught on video and shared by a bystander. A tragedy that, unfortunately, is not unique. Too often systems of injustice that are supposed to protect life, do the exact opposite.

We have seen too many deaths at the hands of policing in the United States. Today, in this case, justice has been served. But it has not been served for too many men, women, and children who have lost their lives - people such as Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright, Robert White, Elijah McClain, Finan Berhe, Atatiana Jefferson, Rayshard Brooks, Dominique Williams, James Johnson. Their lives mattered.

 

Let this verdict serve as a wake-up call to those who have been ignorant of the state sanctioned violence and dehumanization that Black people and other people of color have experienced for hundreds of years. 

While I acknowledge that a guilty conviction can never bring back those lives stolen by police violence, including Mr. Floyd’s, we are still better served by a system that shows that it can be held accountable. We have to work to fundamentally transform these systems and I’ll continue to use the power of my position as an At-Large Member of the Montgomery County Council to do just that.

Rest in Peace, George Floyd.

Today and every day, Black Lives Matter.

***

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II on guilty verdicts in trial of Derek Chauvin 

From Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach:

"Today's three guilty verdicts in the trial of Derek Chauvin are an important public act of accountability. But any verdict on a charge of less than first-degree murder -- a charge that Chauvin did not face -- is a sign that we still have work to do. Before the entire nation, fellow officers took the stand in this trial and testified that their colleague did not protect and serve but abused power and killed George Floyd. We must meet this public act of justice and accountability with federal legislation that will hold officers of the law accountable in every state, and we must continue to work in every community to shift public investment from over-policing poor, Black and brown communities to ensuring restorative justice and equity for all people."


"Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble." - Rep. John Lewis

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STATEMENT: Verdict Is a First Step Toward Tackling the Systemic and Ongoing Problem of Police Violence, CAP’s Mara Rudman Says

Washington D.C. — Today, after two days of deliberation, the jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man.

Mara Rudman, executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

The conviction of Derek Chauvin for all three charges is a needed step to ensure that he is held accountable for the murder of George Floyd. The evidence against Chauvin was overwhelming: multiple video recordings of the crime and eyewitness testimony, testimony from use-of-force experts and medical examiners, and evidence from other Minneapolis Police Department officers, including the chief of police. Any other result would have dealt a significant, almost insurmountable blow to the ideal of an American justice system that is capable, in any way, of holding police officers accountable.

Still, today’s verdict does not erase the fact that all too often police are not held accountable for using deadly force against Black and brown lives. Even since the nationwide outcry against the murder of George Floyd, police have continued to kill other unarmed Black and brown Americans. In just the past two weeks, two more people—Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo—were added to the long list of unarmed Black and brown Americans murdered by the police: Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Daniel Prude, Atatiana Jefferson, Stephon Clark, Botham Jean, Alton Sterling, Tony McDade, and Freddie Gray, among so many others. The list goes on and on.

It is past time for lawmakers at all levels of government to seriously tackle the systemic and ongoing problem of police violence. They must strengthen laws to stop police violence, shrink the scope of policing, and empower the voices and leadership of community members to ensure public safety, and—above all—reaffirm that Black lives matter. That starts at the federal level by passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which among other things criminalizes reckless uses of excessive force, authorizes states to investigate patterns and practices of unconstitutional policing, and prohibits racial profiling.

Chauvin’s conviction does not solve the problems of police violence and lack of police accountability. Policymakers must act with urgency and meaningfully show that those entrusted to enforce the law are not above the law.

***

George Floyd Should Still Be Here
WASHINGTON – Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the following statement in response to the jury’s conviction of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the murder of George Floyd:
“A beloved friend, son, father, brother, and member of his community, George Floyd was senselessly murdered by a police officer charged with protecting and defending him and the community. The harsh reality is that far too many Black and Brown people in this country fear this same violent end. Although justice was served today with the conviction of Derek Chauvin, Mr. Floyd cannot be made whole and his family deserves better. We all do. This is an incredibly important outcome, but this is only one case. The need to completely reimagine public safety and develop a system that centers community needs is more urgent now than ever. We must end this culture of impunity.” 
“The Senate must confirm Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke whose service in the Department of Justice is more important now than ever, and it must join the House and pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.”
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.

***

Legal Aid Statement in Response to Derek Chauvin Verdict

(NEW YORK, NY, April 20, 2021) – The Legal Aid Society issued the following statement in response to the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial:

“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of George Floyd and with Black and Brown communities who have long suffered at the hands of law enforcement.

While this conviction holds Derek Chauvin accountable for his actions, it does not cure the epidemic of police violence or address the racist systems that perpetuate it. Even as this trial was taking place, Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo were killed by police. Police in this nation wield far too much power and control in spaces where they simply do not belong. Their bloated budgets drain resources from services needed in communities and doctrines such as qualified immunity too often shield them from any obligation to pay for the damage they cause. We must fundamentally shift this power and funding to where it is needed the most and repeal qualified immunity laws throughout this country.

The Legal Aid Society vows to honor George Floyd’s life and all those who have lost their lives to the police as we continue to work alongside directly affected individuals to bring fundamental change to the systems and institutions that oppress the communities we serve.”

***

Brian K. Bond, Executive Director of PFLAG National released the following statement:
“A small step was taken with today's guilty verdict, but the sad truth is that nothing will ever return George Floyd safely to his family, or make it possible for him to hug his child Gianna. This verdict is validation of the deep-rooted problem of systemic racism, but far from justice served. There is so much more work to be done.It only starts with this national conversation that has finally been elevated around policing and racism in this country--and it is incumbent upon all of us to be engaged. 
"George Floyd died at the hands of discrimination-based violence, that made his life less important for police to serve and protect than others. This is wrong and PFLAG National, along with hundreds of thousands of PFLAGers across the country, will continue to fight for the lives and rights of Black people and against systemic racism and bias-based violence.”

***

Muslim Advocates Responds to Derek Chauvin Guilty Verdict

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty for the killing of George Floyd. Shortly after Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison took over the case, Muslim Advocates called on him to arrest all officers involved in Floyd’s killing. The following is a statement from Muslim Advocates Executive Director Farhana Khera:

“The whole world saw George Floyd beg for breath, for his mother and finally for mercy before dying as Derek Chauvin’s knee was on his neck. The jury’s guilty verdict is a long-overdue measure of justice for the Floyd family. We thank the Floyd family, all the activists on the ground and Attorney General Keith Ellison and his team who all made this important moment of justice happen. 

Now, all the other officers involved in Floyd’s killing must also be held accountable. And we must hold accountable all the other officers involved in the killings of Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, Breonna Taylor, Muhammad Muhaymin, Jr. and the many, many other Black people and people of color who have been harmed and killed by the police. Further, we must all take drastic, immediate action to overhaul the law enforcement and justice systems that have allowed this violence to continue for so long.”

***

April 20, 2021

 

Chauvin Trial Shows Need for Broad Focus on Systemic Racism

Officer’s Conviction Necessary but Not Sufficient, Greenlining Institute Says

 

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – In response to the announcement of the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin on all three counts in the killing of George Floyd, Greenlining Institute President and CEO Debra Gore-Mann released the following statement:

 

“Today we experienced a small measure of justice as Derek Chauvin was convicted and the killing of George Floyd was recognized as the criminal act it was. But we shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that one conviction of one cop for a killing the whole world witnessed on video will change a fundamentally racist and dysfunctional system. The whole law enforcement system must be rethought and rebuilt from the ground up so that there are no more George Floyds, Daunte Wrights and Adam Toledos. But even that is just a start.

“Policing doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Systemic racism exists in policing because systemic racism exists in America. We must fundamentally uproot the disease of racism in our society and create a transformative path forward.”

To learn more about The Greenlining Institute, visit www.greenlining.org.

***

People For the American Way Responds to Verdict in Chauvin Trial  

Washington, DC—Following today’s verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial, People For the American Way President Ben Jealous released the following statement:

“From the moment the world first saw the searing images of George Floyd’s brutal murder, it was clear that no outcome other than a conviction of his killer would serve justice.  This is a day of deep gratitude for the accountability that has come, for the masterful work of Keith Ellison and his team in ensuring justice in this case, and for the way in which the conscience of a nation was awakened by this tragedy. At the same time, it is still a day of grief for the man who will never return to his family and for so many Black Americans murdered and maimed by law enforcement. For centuries, American law enforcement has carried out these attacks with impunity; for decades, since the beating of Rodney King, even video evidence of those attacks has failed to bring accountability. That changed today, but this work doesn’t stop today.

There must be a federal investigation of broader problems of police abuse that led to this case in Minneapolis, as well as continuing issues in nearby communities like Brooklyn Center and communities around the nation. We must pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act at the federal level, which will not solve every problem but is a good start. And we must do the hard work of fundamentally changing policing at the local level, which is happening across the country from the state level to the city and county level, where we are seeing some really innovative solutions proposed in places like Ithaca, New York. This work demands the full commitment of our hearts and souls to rooting out systemic racism in our justice system, so no family ever needs to grieve again as George Floyd’s family is grieving now.  We can and will succeed in this work, and George Floyd’s death will not be in vain.”

 ***

Statement by Dr. Gail C. Christopher, Executive Director, National Collaborative for Health Equity

GUILTY VERDICT IN GEORGE FLOYD MURDER TRIAL MARKS MAJOR ADVANCE TOWARDS RACIAL JUSTICE

WASHINGTON – “When Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill read the verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial, many of us openly wept.  Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was found guilty on all counts for the brutal murder of George Floyd. It was a public execution of a Black man lying helplessly in the street as police colleagues looked on callously and stunned civilian witnesses pleaded for the officer to lift his knee from Floyd’s neck.

“Chauvin is now being held accountable for his actions.  

“President Biden and Vice President Harris courageously stepped into this moment of shared relief and collective humanity by calling for racial equity and publicly asserting the significance of this trial’s outcome for our nation’s journey toward racial justice.

“At NCHE, we are among the many who wept and exhaled as we accepted this sign of renewed hope that justice for people of color, especially unarmed Black people killed by police, is possible within our legal system. Centuries of injustice have demonstrated that America’s legal system is built on the failed belief in a racial hierarchy. It can and must be transformed.

“It begins with a shared vision for transformative change and the deep belief that it can happen. A rare, miraculous confluence of factors combined to create this unprecedented outcome; it is so rare that law enforcement is held accountable, especially when the victim is Black.  This may be a harbinger of system transformation. Floyd’s death spurred the largest, most sustained diverse mobilization of protests and calls for racial justice in history.  We believe this was a determining factor in the outcome.  The masses could not be denied.  

“NCHE stands in solidarity with Floyd‘s family, the Black Lives Matter movement and millions of people of all races and ethnicities around the world. We send heartfelt thanks for protesting, never giving up and demanding justice. For the first time in history, millions of people stood up for a Black man, for George Floyd, and in so doing, stood up for the countless other victims. “Throughout our nation’s history, people of color have suffered and died from racist cruelty and brutality, while the legal system worked against them, rather than for justice for all.

“Transformation of entrenched systemic racism requires galvanized public will. At NCHE, we continue working to build that resolve and commitment to racial and health equity through ongoing partnerships that support truth and racial healing, convenings of community, public and private sector leaders and leveraging relevant research and data to inform effective public policies and private practices that fuel progress and change.

“Today, we join millions in breathing a bit freer now that a guilty verdict has been rendered and the humanity of George Floyd is re-affirmed.  Our march for justice goes on.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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