Derek Chauvin guilty: State and local leaders share reactions

Local News

Families pay their respects at George Floyd Square, after the fifth day of the trial for Derek Chauvin, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., April 2, 2021. REUTERS/Octavio Jones

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Leaders and lawmakers from the Rochester area and across New York State shared their reactions to the Derek Chauvin guilty verdicts Tuesday.

Chauvin, a former police officer, was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for killing George Floyd in May, 2020.

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.

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.

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.

New York State 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.

Congressman Joe Morelle:

I’m thankful to the jury for their swift and decisive action to hold Derek Chauvin accountable for the murder of George Floyd. But this verdict doesn’t bring George Floyd’s life back, and it doesn’t end the pain and injustice that far too many Black Americans experience every day.

This is a solemn moment in our history. I pray that it marks another step toward the healing of our society and the reform we need to prevent further tragedies.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Today’s verdict delivers a small measure of justice to the family of George Floyd, but nothing can ever erase the pain of losing a loved one. Our nation remains in a moment of moral reckoning and we must take bold and decisive action. Congress must pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to address the systemic and institutional racism that plagues our criminal justice system and continues to lead to the deaths of countless Black Americans.

Assemblymember Harry Bronson:

The eyes of the world witnessed the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Derrick Chauvin and now a court of law has finally delivered justice. While many were shocked at the horrifying video that was soon seen around the world, for others this was just another day for people of color in America. We will never forget George Floyd and we will remember his life was so much more than his last 9 minutes and 29 seconds.

George Floyd’s life mattered.

Let this verdict ring throughout our country and serve as a reminder that no one is above the law. As a nation, we must hold law enforcement officers accountable and continue the hard work of reforming our justice system. It is upon all of us to keep moving forward and continue the fight for racial justice.

Today, justice was served. Justice was served for George Floyd.

Senator Samra Brouk

Today Derek Chauvin, the officer who murdered George Floyd, has been found guilty on all charges. This verdict is a small step towards accountability, but true justice resides in the work that lies ahead to redress centuries of tragedy and trauma inflicted on and endured by so many Black men and women in this country. George Floyd should still be alive today. And although nothing can bring him back to his family, we must continue to honor him by actively working to transform and rebuild our policing systems to equally serve all of us. May this verdict provide some sense of peace to the Floyd family and Black communities across the country.

Rochester Mayoral Candidate Malik Evans

Nothing can bring back George Floyd’s life, but I pray that today’s verdict gives some peace to his family. While this verdict is progress, our country has a moral imperative to create a new normal, where our legacy of systemic racism is not reflected in our public institutions or private lives.

We have seen the impacts of this system firsthand in Rochester, and I remain committed to breaking this legacy by bringing our city together and bridging this divide. As Mayor, I will work to increase transparency, strengthen police accountability measures, and create an RPD that serves all citizens equally.

Monroe County Black and Asian Caucus

The Black and Asian Democratic Caucus is pleased with the verdict in the criminal case against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Our thoughts today are with the family of George Floyd, whose murder sparked a movement like no other in history. Mr. Floyd’s death was an example in a long line of violence against people of color by law enforcement. We hope that the conviction on all counts against Mr. Chauvin signals the beginning of change when it comes to police-community relations, especially when those communities are mostly made up of people of color. We also hope that this will change the trajectory of policing across the nation to make everybody safer. Justice for George Floyd and his family brings us relief and we must never forget the names of those who never received their justice.

However, the movement is far from being done. As we saw in our own city just last year in the case of Daniel Prude, people of color are still killed while those responsible for the deaths are not being held accountable. We will keep fighting for justice for all of those who have been victims of police brutality and all other forms of violence against communities of color. As the great Malcolm X said, “I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”

Rev. Lewis Stewart, United Christian Leadership Ministry

The verdict is a portion of justice for George Floyd and his family. What happened to George Floyd is symbolic of what has happened to Black people since 1619. Brutal lynchings, horrific killings and the
devastation of Black lives. America is a White Supremacist nation and demonstrated its de-evaluation for black lives by acts of state terrorism by representatives of law enforcement – Tamier Rice, Breonna Taylor, Daniel Prude, Emmet Till and countless others never received justice.

Derek Chauvin was found guilty and criminally liable for killing George Floyd: Guilty on all three counts

This verdict is a victory for Mr. Floyd, his family and for humanity. Justice is possible in America and police officers who engage in such beastly actions shall not escape the judgement of the people.

Therefore, George Floyd has become an international symbol of American racist oppression and that if we the people are persistent and consistent in protest, and fighting for transformational policies, justice shall win out.

We must hold back the darkness by lifting our voices in outrage and pushing back against American Systemic racism and injustice.

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