Walz, state lawmakers react to the verdict in the Chauvin Trial | www.WDIO.com

Walz, state lawmakers react to the verdict in the Chauvin Trial

Walz, state lawmakers react to the verdict in the Chauvin Trial Photo: WDIO-TV

Updated: April 20, 2021 08:25 PM
Created: April 20, 2021 06:18 PM

Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter on Tuesday in the death of George Floyd.  The verdict set off jubilation around Minneapolis. People instantly flooded the surrounding streets downtown, running through traffic with banners. Cars blared their horns.

Floyd family members who had gathered at a Minneapolis conference room could be heard cheering.

Many lawmakers and organizations are reacting to the news. 

Gov. Tim Walz, (DFL) Minnesota:

“Today’s verdict is an important step forward for justice in Minnesota. The trial is over, but our work has only begun.”

“The world watched on May 25, 2020 as George Floyd died with a knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes.”

“Thousands of Minnesotans marched in the streets last summer in the wake of his death—inspiring a movement around the globe. While many of these people never met George, they valued his humanity. They knew what happened was wrong. They called for change, and they demanded justice.”

“A year later, Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of murder and faces years behind bars.”

“But we know that accountability in the courtroom is only the first step.”

“No verdict can bring George back, and my heart is with his family as they continue to grieve his loss. Minnesota mourns with you, and we promise the pursuit of justice for George does not end today.”

“True justice for George only comes through real, systemic change to prevent this from happening again. And the tragic death of Daunte Wright this week serves as a heartbreaking reminder that we still have so much more work to do to get there.”

“Too many Black people have lost—and continue to lose—their lives at the hands of law enforcement in our state.” 

“Our communities of color cannot go on like this. Our police officers cannot go on like this. Our state simply cannot go on like this. And the only way it will change is through systemic reform.”

“We must rebuild, restore, and reimagine the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve. We must tackle racial inequities in every corner of society—from health to home ownership to education. We must come together around our common humanity.” 

“Let us continue on this march towards justice.”

Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan:

“Justice for George Floyd means building a community and a state where everyone is safe. While nothing will bring George back, this verdict is a step toward the vision of justice that sent thousands of people into the streets, demanding change.”

“In his last moments, George cried out to his mother. His life and his humanity mattered. Our work is not done until every mother’s child is safe, valued, and protected. We must be bold in our thinking, steadfast in our commitment to one another, and courageous enough to reimagine what true public safety means. And we must never forget George Floyd’s daughter, who will grow up without a father.”

“The grief and pain of so many Minnesotans doesn’t go away with one verdict, even a verdict towards justice. And the legacy of this moment and this movement does not end today.”

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota):

“Today’s conviction was right. For the Floyd family, nothing will bring back George, but this verdict is a first step towards accountability. Attorney General Keith Ellison and his team did great work prosecuting this case, and the hometown witnesses and police officers who testified displayed such courage in reliving that horrific day and making the case for justice. 

This trial was about George Floyd’s murder, but it also captured his life. His brother Philonise Floyd introduced us to a devoted son who struggled to tear himself away from his mother’s casket, a loving brother who always made sure his siblings had a snack for school, and a dedicated community member who ‘just knew how to make people feel better.’

George Floyd should be alive today, and this conviction will not bring him back to us, nor will it bring us total justice. As long as George Floyd isn’t around to swap trucking tips with his brother, mark the anniversary of his beloved mother’s passing, or hug his children again, there will not be justice. And while Black Americans continue to be subjected to a system that keeps mothers and fathers up at night worrying about whether their children are going to come back home every time they get in the car, we know our work is not done. 
As Martin Luther King Jr. once said: ‘If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.’

It’s long past time the Senate moves forward and passes police reform to hold officers accountable for misconduct, increase transparency in policing practices, and improve police conduct and training, including banning chokeholds. This is the urgent task before us—not for tomorrow, not for next year, but for now. 

And today, as we reflect on the life of George Floyd, and appreciate this step towards accountability and the work of the prosecutors, judge and jury, we acknowledge our long and winding march towards justice. We renew our commitment towards securing his legacy—not just as the man whose death shined a light on the undeniable stain of racism on our country—but as the man whose memory inspires us to build a more equitable system.”

U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minnesota):

“Convicting Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd is a moment of accountability, and also a moment to recommit ourselves to the movement for racial justice his tragic murder sparked.

Millions of people took to the streets because we couldn’t look away from the reality of George Floyd’s murder and we could see change had to come. I can’t stop thinking about all the Black and Brown people denied their civil rights and denied their lives, where there was no accountability.

Last week a reporter interviewing me referred to Minnesota as ‘the Jim Crow of the North.’ Devastating. He was talking about the deep and persistent inequities in housing, health care, policing and the criminal justice system, and economic opportunity that people of color experience in my state.

These inequities exist, not only in Minnesota, but all across our country. And we can change them.

What if this verdict is the beginning of a transformation in public safety for Minnesota and our country, where we move past the warrior model of policing and toward a model of truly protecting and serving?

What if we rethink public safety so that Black and Brown people, and all people, truly feel safe and protected in their homes, neighborhoods and communities?

This is the work ahead of all of us.”

Congressman Pete Stauber (R-Minnesota) via Twitter

“For the past few weeks, 12 of our fellow Minnesotans diligently listened to the evidence presented by the defense and prosecution, and today, they have reached their verdict. I thank the jurors for their service. These are not easy times, and it is my greatest hope that we all now find the strength to unify our communities and move forward together. Our nation’s leaders especially have an obligation to turn down the temperature and reject rhetoric that might incite violence. Peace, compassion, and productive dialogue is the only path forward.”

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers statement: 

“There’s no verdict that can bring peace to loved ones when someone is taken from them. My heart and thoughts are with George Floyd’s family, his loved ones, and the entire community. 

“While this is a moment of accountability in our justice system and our country, we are reminded that justice for Black lives is not a moment—it requires meaningful, sustained, and systemic change.  

“Today’s verdict doesn’t replace the changes we must make to keep our promises of a more fair and more equitable state and country. Every day—and especially today—we must reaffirm and resolve to continue our work toward justice.”  

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul:

“As I said last year, what we saw on the video of the events leading to George Floyd’s death was not law enforcement,” said Attorney General Kaul. “Derek Chauvin was not protecting or serving the residents of Minneapolis. He was committing a horrific crime.”

“No jury verdict can bring Mr. Floyd back. Nor does this verdict mean that we don’t need to reform our criminal justice system. But today’s verdict does mean there will be accountability and, I hope, a measure of healing, especially for Mr. Floyd’s family.”

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