Everyone, from layman to Hollywood celebrity to elected officials has weighed in on the verdict relating to the Derek Chauvin criminal trial. So, just in case you have been living under a rock for the past year and deleted any and all news related to the killing of George Floyd by a former Minneapolis, Minnesota policeman, you won’t get all of the reaction.
Chauvin was charged with variations of three counts of murder against Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man. Chauvin was caught on videotape casually kneeling on the neck of Floyd for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. That was nearly a year ago (May 20, 2020). Under intense public pressure, Chauvin was charged with three counts of murder: second-degree murder; third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
After two days of deliberations, a jury came back with guilty verdicts on all three charges. Chauvin had his bail revoked and was immediately remanded into custody, a victory for all of those seeking justice for the killing of Floyd, including his family. Former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama issued a statement on the verdict reading.
“Today, a jury in Minneapolis did the right thing. For almost a year, George Floyd’s death under the knee of a police officer has reverberated around the world — inspiring murals and marches, sparking conversations in living rooms and new legislation. But a more basic question has always remained: would justice be done?
In this case, at least, we have our answer. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, we know that true justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial.
True justice requires that we come to terms with the fact that Black Americans are treated differently, every day. It requires us to recognize that millions of our friends, family, and fellow citizens live in fear that their next encounter with law enforcement could be their last. And it requires us to do the sometimes thankless, often difficult, but always necessary work of making the America we know more like the America we believe in.
While today’s verdict may have been a necessary step on the road to progress, it was far from a sufficient one. We cannot rest. We will need to follow through with the concrete reforms that will reduce and ultimately eliminate racial bias in our criminal justice system. We will need to redouble efforts to expand economic opportunity for those communities that have been too long marginalized.
And as we continue the fight, we can draw strength from the millions of people — especially young people — who have marched and protested and spoken up over the last year, shining a light on inequity and calling for change. Justice is closer today not simply because of this verdict, but because of their work.
Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, in the hopes that they may find peace. And we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied.”
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