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U.S. and two-state leaders react to the verdict of the George Floyd murder trial

Published: Apr. 20, 2021 at 12:03 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 20, 2021 at 5:11 PM EDT
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On Tuesday, the jury in former Officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial in George Floyd’s death reached a verdict. Chauvin has been found guilty on all counts. He has been convicted of second- and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter. He faces up to 75 years in prison when he returns for sentencing in eight weeks.

National and local leaders react to the verdict of the George Floyd murder trial.

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland statement:

“The jury in the state trial of Derek Chauvin has fulfilled its civic duty and rendered a verdict convicting him on all counts. While the state’s prosecution was successful, I know that nothing can fill the void that the loved ones of George Floyd have felt since his death. The Justice Department has previously announced a federal civil rights investigation into the death of George Floyd. This investigation is ongoing.”

Sen. Raphael Warnock statement:

First and foremost, I’m thinking about George Floyd’s children and his family, and I’m thankful that they received something that approaches justice today after the trauma they’ve endured—one we’ve seen visited upon Black people and communities of color time and time again, and that never becomes less painful.

Today’s verdict affirming Derek Chauvin’s responsibility for killing George Floyd is the right outcome in this trial, but it is not justice for George Floyd, who should still be here with us, nor for his family and community, who have suffered an immeasurable loss.

We know that there cannot be healing without justice, and likewise, we still have much work to do in the Senate not only to create true justice that prevents more senseless killings of Black people, but to push our system closer to our ideals of equal protection under the law. That’s why reforming policing on the federal level is so imperative, and why Congress must pass legislation like the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act that will help end this cycle of violence and bend the moral arc of the universe closer to justice.

As a voice for Georgians in the Senate, and as a Black man, I hope today’s verdict is the beginning of a turning point in our country where people who have seen this trauma over and over again will know it is possible to have equal protection under the law. And in the meantime, I’m going to continue pushing with everything I can to make sure our federal government honors people’s humanity and recognizes their citizenship—whether it’s at the polls, or during their interactions with police.”

Sen. Jon Ossoff statement:

“George Floyd’s murderer has been convicted, but brutality and racial bias will persist in our justice system until we enact reform. I am urging my colleagues in the Senate to pass criminal justice reform that will ensure public safety, rebuild trust between communities and law enforcement, and secure equal justice for all.”

Sen. Tim Scott statement:

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., talked to reporters via a video chat.

Sheriff Alfonzo Williams from the Burke County Sheriff’s Office statement:

“The jury has found that Chauvin is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of murdering George Floyd by using negligible force for over nine minutes, which resulted in positional asphyxia. This means all twelve jurors believe that the state (prosecutor) met their burden of proving the elements of the offenses charged. The defendant acted purposely in causing this death and he is now being held to account for his actions. This verdict is a vindication, not only to George Floyd’s family but also to all persons in this country who have felt this pain through George Floyd and other victims who have died unjustly.

This impartial body of diverse and ordinary men and women (without any real training) sent a very clear and convincing message to the people of this country that our criminal justice system is still the best in the world. A system requires truth, justice, fairness and equity when executing the law. Perhaps now we can start greater conversations about law enforcement, race relations, standards of training, departmental policies and procedures, national standards and the need to stop, listen to one another and take competent actions to lessen these types of incidences that tend to shock the conscience of humanity.

As an agency, we will be talking about this case, as well as many other cases in recent history as we look to learn better ways to engage our communities and bridge the divide between those who are sworn to serve and the persons we serve.

Law enforcement can breathe a sign of relief as the verdict confirms what the majority of police officers know to be the truth - that we join this country in resoundingly affirming the jury’s guilty verdict. And that we can do our jobs while staying within the confines of the law and best police practices.

Former President Barack Obama statement:

Copyright 2021 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved. WIS contributed to this report.