'This was accountability, but it's not yet justice': Reactions to Chauvin guilty verdict

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd, a killing that sparked racial justice protests across the nation and world last summer. The verdict was announced Tuesday afternoon, with a Hennepin County, Minn., jury finding Chauvin guilty on all three charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin was remanded into custody with sentencing to come in eight weeks.

Below are some of the reactions that poured in following the announcement of the verdict.

Philonise Floyd

George Floyd's brother

Philonise Floyd uses a napkin during a news conference following the verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, found guilty of the death of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., April 20, 2021. (Nicholas Pfosi/Reuters)
Philonise Floyd, George's brother, wipes tears during a news conference following the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin. (Nicholas Pfosi/Reuters)

I feel relieved today that I finally have the opportunity for hopefully getting some sleep. A lot of days that I pray and I hope and I was speaking everything into existence. I said, "I have faith that he will be convicted." It's been a long journey and it's been less than a year, and the person that comes to my mind is 1955, and to me he was the first George Floyd, and that was Emmett Till.

Today you have the cameras all around the world to see and show what happened to my brother. It was a motion picture — the world seen his life been extinguished and I could do nothing but watch. Especially in that courtroom, over and over and over again as my brother was murdered. Times, they getting harder every day. Ten miles away from here, Mr. Wright, Daunte Wright, he should still be here. We have to always understand we have to march; we will have to do this for life. We have to protest because it seems like this is a never-ending cycle.

[I] put up a fight every day because I'm not just fighting for George anymore. I'm fighting for everybody around this world.

Benjamin Crump

Floyd family attorney

Painfully earned justice has arrived for George Floyd’s family and the community here in Minneapolis, but today’s verdict goes far beyond this city and has significant implications for the country and even the world. Justice for Black America is justice for all of America. This case is a turning point in American history for accountability of law enforcement and sends a clear message we hope is heard clearly in every city and every state.

Reverend Al Sharpton, Attorney Ben Crump and Philonise Floyd attend a news conference following the verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, found guilty of the death of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., April 20, 2021. (Nicholas Pfosi/Reuters)
From left: Philonise Floyd, attorney Benjamin Crump and the Rev. Al Sharpton at a news conference following the verdict. (Nicholas Pfosi/Reuters)

We thank Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and his team for their fierce dedication to justice for George. But it does not end here. We have not forgotten that the other three officers who played their own roles in the death of George Floyd must still be held accountable for their actions as well.

Barack and Michelle Obama

Former president and first lady

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.

People react after the verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, found guilty of the death of George Floyd, at George Floyd Square in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., April 20, 2021. (Octavio Jones/Reuters)
People in Minneapolis react after the verdict. (Octavio Jones/Reuters)

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.

Keith Ellison

Attorney general of Minnesota

I would not call today's verdict justice, however, because justice implies true restoration. But it is accountability, which is the first step toward justice.

Tim Walz

Governor of 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.

Derek Chauvin and George Floyd. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: via Facebook)
Derek Chauvin and George Floyd. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: via Facebook)

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.

Ilhan Omar

Democratic congresswoman from Minnesota

Today’s verdict is a major step on the path towards justice and accountability. I thank our incredible attorney general, Keith Ellison, and the prosecution team, who successfully prosecuted a law enforcement homicide — notoriously difficult cases to successfully prosecute — and held a murderer accountable on all charges.

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., speaks Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn., during a news conference at the site of the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright by a police officer during a traffic stop. (Morry Gash/AP)
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., on Tuesday in Brooklyn Center, Minn., at the site of the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright by a police officer during a traffic stop. (Morry Gash/AP)

While today’s conviction is a necessary condition of justice, it is not sufficient. For centuries, Black people have faced violence at the hands of the state in our country. For centuries, systemic inequalities in the form of housing, income, education and criminal justice have plagued our country — holding us back from our creed of liberty and justice for all. Let this be a turning point, where we finally create a society that reflects the belief that all men and women are created equal. Let this be the moment where we implement a broad antiracist agenda to root out the inequalities that continue to plague us.

Cori Bush

Democratic congresswoman from Missouri

This verdict is a step. It’s a popping of the lock to be able to get to the place where we can open the door and really start to do the work to save lives. And so this egregious murder that happened — we can call it murder now — this egregious murder that happened, it should not be that it has to look like that in order for us to have some type of semblance of what people call justice. This was accountability, but it’s not yet justice. Justice for us is saving lives.

Jacob Frey

Mayor of Minneapolis

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey speaks at a press conference about public safety on April 19, 2021 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Closing statements were heard today in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis Police officer is charged with multiple counts of murder in the death of George Floyd. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

George Floyd came to Minneapolis to better his life. But ultimately his life will have bettered our city. The jury joined in a shared conviction that has animated Minneapolis for the last 11 months. They refused to look away and affirmed he should still be here today.

Bernice King

Civil rights activist and daughter of Martin Luther King Jr.

My heart goes out, still, to George Floyd’s family. This verdict matters, but they continue to mourn a grave loss. Love and comfort to his daughter, Gianna.

Bernie Sanders

Vermont senator and former Democratic candidate for president

The jury's verdict delivers accountability for Derek Chauvin, but not justice for George Floyd. Real justice for him and too many others can only happen when we build a nation that fundamentally respects the human dignity of every person.

People celebrate the guilty verdict in the Dereck Chauvin trail at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue on April 20, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis, Minnesota Police officer was found guilty of all three charges in the murder of George Floyd. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
People in Minneapolis celebrate the verdict. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

The trauma and tragedy of George Floyd’s murder must never leave us. It was a manifestation of a system that callously devalues the lives of Black people. Our struggle now is about justice — not justice on paper, but real justice in which all Americans live their lives free of oppression. We must boldly root out the cancer of systemic racism and police violence against people of color.

Boris Johnson

Prime minister of the United Kingdom

I was appalled by the death of George Floyd and welcome this verdict. My thoughts tonight are with George Floyd’s family and friends.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Minnesota Timberwolves star player

Justice and Accountability! Things I never thought I would see. There’s much more work to do, but this is an amazing start working toward the reform this country NEEDS!

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is led away in handcuffs after a jury found him guilty of all charges in his trial for second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. April 20, 2021 in a still image from video.  Court TV/Pool via Reuters)
Chauvin is led away in handcuffs after he was found guilty of all charges. (Court TV/Pool via Reuters)


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