New York and National Elected Officials Hail Conviction of Derek Chauvin on All Murder Charges

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Convicted murderer Chauvin being led away in handcuffs. Photo: Twitter. 

New York and national elected officials today welcomed the conviction of Derek Chauvin the former Minneapolis police officer on all three charges in the murder of George Floyd.

Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter after the jury deliberated for about 10 hours.

"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,” said New York governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “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.”

 

Cuomo added: "Emmett Till. Medgar Evers. Rodney King. Amadou Diallo. Sean Bell. Trayvon Martin. Eric Garner. Michael Brown. Philando Castile. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. Daunte Wright. Adam Toledo. Our country has never fully lived up to its founding ideal, of liberty and justice for all. Still, our greatest attribute has always been our optimism, our belief in an ever better future, our faith in the strength of humanity. We saw that faith in streets across the country last summer and over the last 11 months. Our charge now is to channel our grief, our anger, our righteous energy, and make real, positive, and long-overdue change happen."

Letitia James, the New York state attorney general said Floyd’s family and communities across the U.S. were torn apart by George Floyd’s murder. “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,” said Letitia James, the New York Attorney General. “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.”

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who represents New York’s 8th Congressional District said, “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.”

Cori Bush, who represents Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District said, “This trial has been nothing short of a traumatizing, painful and gut-wrenching reminder of how difficult it is to hold police accountable when they murder members of our community. Over the last month, we’ve been re-traumatized, over, and over again as we watched eight minutes and 46 seconds become nine minutes and 29 seconds. We watched George Floyd’s brother weep on the stand, we watched a young person share the horror of witnessing this murder and we watched the character of George Floyd be put on trial, despite this being the trial of Derek Chauvin.”

Bush added, “And as we were bearing this pain, we witnessed a police officer murder 20-year-old Daunte Wright just miles from the courthouse. We witnessed militarized police invade the Minneapolis area, dropping tear gas and shooting rubber bullets upon people expressing their right to protest. All of the conditions that led to George Floyd’s death, to Daunte Wright’s death, to Adam Toledo’s death remain in place. Listening to the verdict today, I wanted to be overjoyed. But the truth is we should not have to wait with bated breath to find out whether accountability will be served. We live in a country where less than 1% of police officers are convicted for murdering civilians. The officers who murdered Breonna Taylor were not convicted. The officer who murdered Mike Brown Jr. was not convicted. The officer who murdered Stephon Clark was not convicted. The list goes on and on.”

“George Floyd's name became an international rallying cry in the wake of his murder. Millions of people took to the streets demanding justice, calling for systemic change, and chanting with a unified voice that Black Lives Matter. Those protests catalyzed a wave of reforms across the country, including here in New York, and awakened Americans of all races, colors, and creeds to the profound injustices people of color face every day,” said Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president and candidate New York City mayoral candidate. “Today's verdict is a victory for justice. But as recent events have reminded us, the work of ending police abuse – a cause to which I have dedicated my life – is far from over. We mourn the untimely deaths of Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo. Just today, we also recognized Army 2nd Lieutenant Caron Nazario, a Brooklyn native who had guns drawn on him and was pepper-sprayed by police in Virginia during a traffic stop in December. Let us recommit to pursuing justice and fighting for accountability, so no more families know the pain of seeing a loved one mistreated or killed at the hands of law enforcement.”

Andrew Young, who’s also a New York City mayoral candidate said, “For nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds last summer, our nation watched in horror as George Floyd’s life was taken from him in an unconscionable act of police brutality. As is every death caused by those who are trusted to protect our communities and keep us safe, George Floyd’s murder wasn’t just injustice, it was inhuman.”

“Police mistreatment of Black and Brown Americans is both a painful, deadly reality for too many, and a moral stain on our society,” Yang added. “We have a long way to go. We must all remember that today’s verdict is the first step towards healing in our communities, not the accomplishment of deep and lasting reform to police culture.

As we have every day since his murder, today is yet another day to mourn George Floyd’s passing. But we must also use this moment to  begin a relentless pursuit of justice for the countless Black and Brown women, men, and trans people who have been killed at the hands of the police. In Minneapolis, in New York City, and across the country. We must continue to hold George’s family very close, and the family of Daunte Wright, and every other family who has lost a loved one at the hands of the police. There are far too many other families who have borne the brunt of grief and loss who have not yet seen justice, but today’s verdict is one step in the right direction.”

Ray McGuire, another candidate in the New York City mayoral race said, "Today, justice was served. Our family and community have a hole that will never be filled and our nation will continue to grieve because while some justice is available today in the case of George Floyd’s murder, his family, and the countless Black and brown people killed by police may never receive the same opportunity.” McGuire added, “Mother Gwen Carr and I went to Minneapolis to stand with the Floyd family because there is much more work to be done to fundamentally reform how we conduct law enforcement in every city, including our own. Police officers across the entire chain of command must be held accountable for the actions of their department, not just the one whose knee took a man’s life. Today, we are solemn, so that tomorrow we can make change. Let us all stand and pray with the family of George Floyd and celebrate not the verdict but George’s life and memory.”

New York City comptroller and mayoral candidate Scott Stringer said, "The fact that this verdict was anything but a foregone conclusion tells you everything you need to know about how our justice system devalues Black lives. Because anyone who’s watched the horrifying final minutes of George Floyd’s life knew that Derek Chauvin was guilty. Make no mistake: no outcome today could change the fact that our system remains deeply broken across the country. A justice system that marginalizes, criminalizes, and dehumanizes is not justice. When communities of color are forced to fear law enforcement rather than work with them, when the color of your skin or where you live makes you a target, when it can be a crime to be who you are — that is not justice.” Stringer added, “And so while today’s verdict is commendable, our fight for justice is far from over. That includes right here in New York, where time and again political leaders have promised reform but delivered nothing but excuses. As mayor, I will not be held hostage by the police—and I won’t back down from upending the status quo when I encounter resistance. George Floyd and the loved ones he left behind deserve nothing less."

Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the New York Senate Majority Leader, said, "While I’m heartened by this verdict and believe it’s an important step towards accountability, we must remember that this verdict is not true justice. True justice would mean that George Floyd would have walked away from that encounter alive. It would mean that he would be able to watch his daughter grow up. If we had true justice in this country, the kind that lives up to our ideals, countless other Black men and women wouldn’t see the same fate as George Floyd. While we cannot change the past, we can change what happens next. We can decide that we can no longer tolerate a policing system and a justice system that only serves some and not all. We can commit to real reform, to real justice, and to a better system of policing that truly keeps our communities safe instead of tearing them apart. My thoughts are with the Floyd family and the mostly Black and Brown families across this country who have lost a loved one to police violence.”

Kyle Bragg, leader of the union, 32BJ SEIU, said: “We hope this ruling brings a sorely needed measure of relief and peace to the family of George Floyd, and that it signals a step in the right direction towards repairing our broken policing and judicial systems. Televising the horrific play-by-play of George Floyd’s murder forced viewers to face the ugly truth about pervasive racism in policing that leads to wholesale murder in Black and Brown communities. As a union representing mostly Black and Brown workers, our members cannot escape a dangerous reality that they too could become a victim of police brutality, even as they risk their own lives keeping us safe on the frontlines as essential workers who clean and secure buildings. Many must travel to and from work during off-hours and fear being harassed and brutalized by the police. While justice was delivered today, we must never forget Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Michael Brown and all of the victims for whom justice was denied. The fact still remains that police shootings are a leading cause of death among Black men, yet few officers are ever charged and even fewer are convicted. While today’s decision is a step in the right direction, we are far from where our nation needs to be in order to live up to our own ideals.We must ensure this ruling signals an end to the cycle of violence against our Black and Brown communities, and the beginning of long overdue reform of our broken policing and criminal justice systems.”

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