CHICAGO – Public figures, both nationwide and locally, have weighed in following a jury’s decision to find former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.
Chauvin was found guilty on all counts – second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Like many around the world, federal, state and local officials watched the Derek Chauvin verdict come in. An outpouring of support followed on social media and from official statements.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday’s verdict “marks a moment where future generations can look back and see that we as a nation came together and rightfully demanded justice and accountability. And justice was served.”
Governor JB Pritzker
No courtroom can ever replace a life, wrote Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, “but it sure can deliver justice.”
“This verdict marks an important milestone on the journey to justice, but the fullest measure of progress is how we deliver accountability, safety and meaningful change. In Illinois, we are addressing law enforcement reform, criminal justice reform, economic opportunity, educational equity and health care.”
Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton
“This verdict is our Selma moment. In Selma, men and women marched to demand that Black people be seen and treated with the same respect and dignity as others, that our humanity be recognized in this country. Now, in Minneapolis, a diverse jury of men and women with various lived experiences have handed down a guilty verdict that tells this nation, and the world, that the humanity of Black people matters. Finally, this is what accountability looks like. But make no mistake, George Floyd should be alive today and the system still needs to change.”
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx
“May this moment be the inflection point to demanding and delivering justice and accountability to all of our communities,” the prosecutor said in a statement. “May we actualize in truth and policy that Black Lives Matter.”
Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin
“While today’s verdict won’t bring back the life of George Floyd, it delivers a powerful statement that no one is above the law. Derek Chauvin is now a convicted murderer, and bad actors like him have no place in law enforcement.”
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin
“The image of Derek Chauvin staring straight into the camera as George Floyd died under his knee haunts me to this day. The injustice of his killing is undeniable. And so is the fact that systemic racism continues to plague America,” Durbin said. “The verdict of this jury gives me hope that we can strive for a system of justice in our nation that is applied equally to all.”
Illinois Representative Bobby L. Rush
“Today’s verdict — guilty on all three counts — is an important first acknowledgment of illegal police conduct. It holds one unlawful policeman accountable for murder. However, police accountability is not synonymous with justice.”
Illinois Representative Robin Kelly
“Today’s verdict is a step toward justice for the family of George Floyd and a critical moment in our nation’s quest for the just treatment of Black people. I hope that this decision will bring his family a sense of peace and serve as a signal to our country and the world that we will not stand for police brutality.”
Congresswoman Kelly added that Tuesday’s verdict must not be the end of our fight for justice and police reform.
“We must pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and additional bold police reforms.”
Nationally, praise for the jury’s decision following two days of deliberation was felt throughout the White House and national activists. While political figures hailed the verdict in Floyd’s death, many said more work remains.
Former President Barack Obama
“Today, a jury in Minneapolis did the right thing,” said former President Barack Obama.
“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.”
President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris reached out to the Floyd family after the verdict was read, Attorney Ben Crump tweeted:
Later, during a national address, President Joe Biden called the guilty verdict “basic accountability” and “a step forward” while acknowledging the pain of Floyd’s family.
“Nothing can ever bring their brother, their father back,” he said, “But this can be a giant step forward in the march toward justice in America.”
“Let’s also be clear that such a verdict is also much too rare.”
Rev. Al Sharpton
Rev. Al Sharpton reacted to Chauvin’s guilty verdict, saying he broke down in tears when he heard the verdict.
Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.
Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. called Tuesday’s verdict “an emotional and historical moment.”
The American Civil Liberties Union
The American Civil Liberties Union reacted by saying they hoped it helped heal the community but it is “a small win” in a system that needed more reform.
“For the first time in Minnesota state history, a white police officer has been held accountable for killing a Black man. While today’s verdict is a small win for police accountability and may help heal a grieving community, the systems that allowed George to be murdered — ripping him away from his family and the communities that loved him so much — remain fully intact,” said the ACLU in a statement.
The Fraternal Order of Police
The Fraternal Order of Police, which represents law enforcement across the country, called for peaceful responses to the verdict.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.