Reactions are pouring in from many after the verdict in the Derek Chauvin case was released.
Today’s verdict brings us a step closer to making equal justice under law a reality. But the verdict will not heal pain that has existed for generations. It will not take away the pain felt by the Floyd family. That’s why we must recommit to fight for equal justice.
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) April 21, 2021
Today, a jury in Minnesota found former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd.
The verdict is a step forward.
And while nothing can ever bring George Floyd back, this can be a giant step forward on the march towards justice in America.
— President Biden (@POTUS) April 20, 2021
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) April 20, 2021
The City of Rochester issued an official statement:
"The City of Rochester is striving to be inclusive, where all people are treated with dignity and respect. While the verdict reached today in the Chauvin trial brings about closure to a time filled with varying emotions, the pain, mistrust, and historical trauma by members of our community will continue to stay open."
"The City of Rochester has much more work to do to ensure that our community is safe, open, welcoming and inclusive for everyone. We are striving to live out our professed values as a compassionate community, and acknowledge the lived experiences and pain that has and is being shared right now, especially by members of our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) residents. Recent egregious acts, even not within our city, still activate memories of experiences members of our community have had themselves, in other places and within our city."
"We stay firmly committed as an organization to listen, to learn, and to build trust across our city, with a concurrent pledge to action. To that end, the City has been and continues to undertake efforts to acknowledge and address inequity in Rochester, including the recently hiring of the first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director."
"Although efforts have been underway in the City, we realize we have only just started the work that needs to be done. Our promise to the community includes committing to:
§ Address racial inequality in local government through a commitment at all levels of the organization.
§ Update all City policies, practices, and procedures using an equity lens.
§ Create a better system for effective, responsive, and culturally sensitive engagement.
§ The implementation of the Blueprint for Re-envisioning Rochester Police Department, which is a reflection upon and acknowledgement of the need for a cultural change within the law enforcement profession.
§ Developing and implementing the first ever City of Rochester Equity Plan."
"In order to stand with our entire community, we must acknowledge the pain, both lingering and fresh, being laid bare and caused by racial inequities across our state and country. As an organization and as part of the community, the City of Rochester is committed to standing with our BIPOC community and charting a path forward together."
"We affirm the statement made by the City in 2020; We see you. We hear you. We support you."
From the Rochester Police Department:
"Regardless of the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, the Rochester Police Department reaffirms our commitment to providing the community the highest level of public safety. Through these challenging times, we remain dedicated to our core values – including respect, compassion and service. We believe that every contact counts and that policing with our hearts is essential to building trust and legitimacy. We share this community’s concerns. With partnership and collaboration, we will strive toward a stronger Rochester."
Albert Lea Area Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Funk:
"At Albert Lea Area Schools we understand that our students may experience strong emotions regarding the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin. We appreciate and acknowledge the rights our students have in advocating for what they believe in."
At this time, we encourage all parents/guardians to talk with your student(s) about how they may be feeling about the verdict and the importance of expressing themselves appropriately. We want to provide families with a few resources for these conversations (https://bit.ly/3dzT6yB)."
We appreciate your continued support of a safe environment for our students and staff. Albert Lea Area Schools is committed to providing safe, healthy, and welcoming schools for all."
Representative Liz Boldon (DFL - Rochester):
“I am relieved that the jury decided on guilty verdicts for all three counts today. While we can express relief that Derek Chauvin will receive accountability for his heinous actions, we cannot be satisfied with this as justice. Justice would be a world where George Floyd is alive, well, and valued by our society. We have more work to do to create a world that values Black lives, and I am committed to do my part to create that world. I am hopeful that this is a turning point, and we can work to enact the systemic changes necessary to bring true justice and equality. ”
Representative Tina Liebling (DFL – Rochester):
“Upon learning of the guilty verdicts in the trial of Derek Chauvin I feel a sense of relief mixed with sadness. Relief that justice has been done in this case, but sadness that basic accountability and justice are so hard to obtain. The work for real justice and accountability in our country is not over, but I hope today marks a turning point."
“We need a change in the culture of policing, so the profession attracts and empowers officers who want to protect and serve, and does not tolerate those whose conduct brings pain and distrust to communities. As a policymaker, I will continue to support laws and that move us toward that change. Our Black and Brown neighbors—and all of us—deserve that and so much more.”
Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Chairman Ken Martin:
“I am grateful that our legal system has reached a just verdict and held George Floyd’s murderer accountable, particularly given how often it fails to deliver justice in the cases of clear police misconduct towards Black Americans. It is my sincere hope that today’s ruling is the beginning of a new paradigm wherein law enforcement is held to account when they abuse the trust and authority placed in them."
“While George Floyd’s murderer is going to jail, the fact remains that the very systems which led to this tragedy in the first place still exist. Thankfully, there was justice in the courts today, and now we need justice for George Floyd in the legislature. George Floyd should still be alive today, and until we pass serious police reform and accountability measures, the likelihood of this happening again here remains very high."
“Our state and national legislatures have work in front of them to pass real police reform and accountability measures to deliver on the promises we have made to ensure this never happens again. The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party is committed to delivering those necessary reform measures and creating a public safety system that does right by each and every one of us.”
Sister Ramona Miller, President, on behalf of the Rochester Franciscan Community:
"The trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin is over, and he has been found guilty on all counts in the death of George Floyd. This decision, made by a jury, has effects that ripple through all aspects of our society. We urge everyone to find it in their hearts to realize that we are all brothers and sisters."
"In the wake of this verdict, we must first stop and pray—pray for George Floyd, his daughter, his family, and his community. We pray, too, for former officer Derek Chauvin and his family. We pray for the larger African American community that the time for healing and justice will come swiftly and build a greater country for the next generation together. We pray that law enforcement officers remain protected from daily threats and that they can safely interact with people whether they are assisting them or arresting them."
"Regardless of where we stand politically, we need to listen to each other. We must strive for commitment to a shared humanity and a willingness to improve our communities."
"We, the Sisters of Saint Francis, are committed to a culture of nonviolence in our daily lives, as active participants in our communities, in response to violence large and small."
"Join us and follow examples of great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Francis of Assisi, and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and turn towards non-violent solutions. Forgiveness with Love will be the only antidote for a peaceful future."
John Gordon, executive director of the ACLU of Minnesota:
“Today, for the first time in state history, a white police officer has been held accountable for killing a Black man. Now, we can finally say George Floyd’s name and make it synonymous not only with grief, anger, and loss over his brutal murder, but with a moment of justice. But to be clear, true justice would mean George Floyd was alive today, with his fiancée, his daughter, and his family."
“While this verdict brings a certain rare form of accountability for police, achieving this outcome for Mr. Floyd is only one step in addressing police abuse of power, disparate treatment, and excessive force against Black and Brown communities. We still must radically change policing in Minnesota and across the country, increase accountability and transparency, and create policies that combat racism in policing."
“The jury's decision to convict Derek Chauvin does not negate the fact that Mr. Floyd’s tragic murder is part of a horrifying local and national pattern of officers using excessive force against people of color. Mr. Floyd was one of more than 5,000 people killed by police since 2015."
“Mr. Floyd should not have died under an officer’s knee — he should still be alive today. So should Daunte Wright, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black people killed by police."
“Our elected officials, activists, communities, and organizations, including the ACLU of Minnesota, must continue to fight for racial justice in Mr. Floyd’s name. We must re-examine our entire system of public safety and public health, and root out the racism that pervades law enforcement. We must prohibit police mistreatment of communities of color, which leads to people being both underserved and overpoliced. We must divert funding from traditional policing toward community-based services, such as crisis teams, so all communities are truly safe. We must remove police from enforcing traffic infractions and low-level offenses. Taking another person’s life is the most extreme action a police officer can take, and new standards for use of force, along with increased accountability and transparency, are needed to ensure that police violence and killings end."
“We join with Mr. Floyd’s family, our community, and our nation in mourning his death. We will never forget to ‘Say His Name.’ Together, we’ll work to ensure that one day, we can remember George Floyd in celebration of the true justice for all achieved in his name.”
U.S. Representative Angie Craig:
“George Floyd’s death represented yet another chapter in a long history of our nation’s failure to stand up for the basic human rights of every American, particularly those of Black men. It is my sincere hope that today’s verdict can one day be understood as a turning point in our nation’s history – and that this decision will bring a long overdue sense of peace to George Floyd’s family and friends."
While we cannot bring George Floyd back, we can take steps to ensure that tragedies like this are never allowed to occur again. In Congress, I am dedicated to making substantive reforms to our law enforcement system to provide accountability. The House has passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act earlier this year, and the Senate must act now.”
The Minnesota Business Partnership, which represents the CEOs and top executives of more than 100 of Minnesota’s largest businesses:
“Today, justice was served and hopefully some measure of healing can begin. This outcome demonstrates that our justice system, while imperfect, can work. We are pleased the jury carefully weighed the evidence and delivered a just verdict in this case, but we also recognize that the struggle for racial equality and equity is far from finished. It is not enough to secure a conviction after an injustice occurs, we must collectively work to adopt policies, practices and behaviors at a community and individual level to prevent the injustice from happening in the first place.”
“Our state has done important work on police reform, but more remains to be done. We must continue working to ensure our laws conform to high standards and expectations and that the law is enforced fairly and equitably. But achieving true social justice requires measures that go beyond passing and enforcing new laws; our culture, attitudes and behaviors must also change. It is incumbent upon all of us – elected officials, law enforcement agencies and officers, civil servants, community leaders, educators, the business community, and the public – to take bold steps toward building a more equitable state for all Minnesotans.”
Justice is served for #GeorgeFloyd. Thank goodness. The struggle for a broader justice continues.
— Rob Sand (@RobSandIA) April 20, 2021
Convicting Dereck Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd is a moment of accountability, and also a moment to recommit ourselves to the movement for racial justice his tragic murder sparked.
— Senator Tina Smith (@SenTinaSmith) April 20, 2021
Progress Iowa executive director Matt Sinovic:
"Whatever our race, wherever we come from, we all just want to make it home safely at the end of the day. George Floyd never made it home. Thankfully, his murderer was convicted today. But Black people still live under the threat of higher fatality from police brutality. And too many Iowa politicians seem intent on making it easier for police violence to occur, and less likely that guilty verdicts like the one announced today will happen in our state."
"In the past few months, the Iowa legislature has created policies that would make it easier to not hold police accountable if they engage in the kind of brutality that killed George Floyd, all while making it harder to vote and harder to exercise our first amendment right to protest. Instead of investing in additional diversity training, restraint training and working to build a healthy rapport with marginalized Iowans, the legislature is focused on immunity for unconscionable behavior as opposed to working to prevent it. Their priorities are completely backwards, and will cause more death and more division if they continue down this path."
"We hope today's verdict brings at least some peace to George Floyd's family, the Black community, and the entire country. But police brutality still happens too often, and too many Black Americans don't make it home safely as a result. We will continue the fight to change state and federal laws that fail to create accountability for police brutality, and stand with all those who work toward racial justice."
Connie Ryan, Executive Director of Interfaith Alliance of Iowa:
“The jury got it right in the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin on all three counts. On that fatal day eleven months ago, Chauvin kneeled on the neck of an innocent man and callously pushed the breath out of him minute by minute, second by second. The jury’s decision today provided accountability for that action.”
“Even with a decision that holds one police officer accountable for his grievous and inhumane actions, let us be clear that justice will only be served in the death of Mr. Floyd when we our society makes real, substantial systemic changes. Until our society makes change in laws, policies, and practice that ensure a Black man cannot unnecessarily and unlawfully die at the hands of a police officer, there is no real justice.”
“Today is a reminder of what must happen in the United States. Will we take hold of this moment to create real change, or will we let it slip through our hands once again? Will more Black people have to be killed again and again for us to have the commitment to make change? Those are the hard questions that we must grapple with as a society. We must make a real commitment to change and take action today.”
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) April 20, 2021
My statement on the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd: pic.twitter.com/rJHDDP8vMO
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) April 20, 2021
David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition:
“Today’s verdict is not about justice. Justice would be George Floyd being here to testify to his experience. Justice, as non-Black people know it, is not possible for Black people in America."
“This verdict is a response to the question of whether Black Lives Matter in America. The United States, and the white supremacist regime that the police in this country represent, was on trial."
“Thankfully today, a jury affirmed that George Floyd’s life matters. Still, we must continue to guard our joy, pray for those most impacted, and remain focused on the work required to ensure that all of our Black Lives Matter. What we need is structural change."
“It is critical that as we celebrate a murderer being held accountable for taking the life of an innocent Black man that we do not lose sight of the work that was required to get to this moment. It says a lot about this country that the possibility of breathing as a Black man without fear of having our lives stolen is only possible when we pursue the necessary reforms to policy and practices that honor all Black lives."
“We all witnessed Derek Chauvin murder George Floyd. Gaslighting is having to sit through a trial where George Floyd was blamed for his death in spite of this fact. Let the legacy of this trial provide us with opportunities to deal with the root causes that led to this moment - that Derek Chauvin thought it was appropriate to engage in lethal conduct - because he had no fear of his actions. We must do better to hold police accountable and that includes ending qualified immunity for police officers."
“Government leaders are responding to this moment by spending millions of dollars on more police, military style weapons, barricades and fencing as if preparing to go to war with the community rather than prioritizing investments in healing, restorative justice, and repair. This moment should be one where we recommit to universal principles of equality and expecting fair treatment. Each of us should want what has happened to George Floyd and those who knew and loved him, and so many other Black lives that have been stolen by state sanctioned actors, to never happen to anyone. Let us work to ensure we don’t revisit this moment again.”
“This verdict does not change what many of us know to be true: a racist, anti-Black, unjust system can never deliver justice for our people. And it never kept us safe as it was not designed to. George Floyd should be here. We mourn as his family mourns, and support their efforts to find solace and accountability with this verdict. Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor and so many other members of our beautifully diverse community deserve to be here too. While we cannot bring them back we can commit to new and meaningful ways to keep our Black bodies and our communities safe.”
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller:
"I am pleased that there was accountability for the murder of George Floyd. Justice prevailed in this case. I acknowledge, however, that the struggle for equity and fairness in the justice system continues."
"I congratulate and applaud Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and his team for their successful prosecution and their commitment to justice. I have worked closely with him and I am impressed with his high level of conviction, judgment, and persistence."
"For years, my staff and I have worked on policies to address the disparate impact on people of color in the criminal justice system, especially concerning sentencing reform. Legislation addressing chokeholds and officer misconduct passed in Iowa last year in the wake of Floyd’s murder. I am committed to work for more reforms."
Council on American-Islamic Relations for Minnesota Executive Director Jaylani Hussein:
"We are encouraged by the jury's decision to convict Derek Chauvin. It is by no means the end of our efforts to build a more just and equitable Minnesota and nation, but it is an important milestone on our journey and a step to healing deep, generational traumas."
"While today's verdict is encouraging, it does not diminish the urgency with which we must continue our efforts to combat the epidemic of police violence in our communities."
"George Floyd received justice today in that courtroom, now we must continue advocating for justice for all, everywhere: in the legislature, where we're fighting to pass bills to increase police oversight and end qualified immunity, in our own communities, where we come together to heal and build trust and mutual understanding, and in the streets, where every day we are organizing, marching, and strengthening our movement."
Education Minnesota President Denise Specht:
“Justice has been served in the murder of George Floyd, but the struggle continues for a new way to deliver public safety for our communities of color. Everyone in Minnesota should feel safe on their streets, in their homes and in their schools. No one should need to feel afraid of those who have sworn to protect and serve. Our union stands with Minnesota's communities of color as they peacefully demand the police reforms and public investments that will make our towns and neighborhoods healthier, safer and more prosperous for everyone, no matter what we look like, or where we live.”
"The children and students of Minnesota will be turning to the adults in their lives tonight to help understand what has happened and how to react. This is the time for adults to be at our best and join together in peace, community and mutual respect, no matter our race, background, profession or where we live. The children of Minnesota are watching and learning.”