On Tuesday, a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty in the 2020 murder of George Floyd. Chauvin was found guilty on all charges including second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin now faces up to 40 years in prison. Several New Jersey leaders and politicians are reacting to the verdict.
Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver
While the verdict is a step toward accountability and justice, more collaboration and conversation are necessary to stop unjustified homicides of people of color. Therefore, let us struggle and strive to finish the work we are in and do all we can to achieve a just and a lasting peace in our country with malice towards none and charity for all. May the words of Gianna Floyd, “my Daddy changed the world” resonate in our hearts and minds as we move forward.
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker
Today I am thinking about George Floyd’s family, his daughter, and his loved ones. My heart is with them as they continue to mourn. This verdict is a reflection of how our legal system is supposed to work: an individual guilty of a horrific crime is being held accountable for his actions. But this verdict did not and will not fix what is so deeply broken in that system. Accountability for the officer who murdered George Floyd is important and it is necessary. But it is far from enough. We must also hold the system that allowed it to happen accountable. What are we going to do as a country to prevent this from happening again and again and again and again? We must change this system that is killing us. We must change the complacency that allows it to persist. We must change our laws.”
Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr.
“I think the jury has spoken and it appears justice has been served. But it doesn’t make me feel excited. Instead, it makes me angry that another Black man had to die at the hands of the police. Why does this continue to happen in this country? Why is it that an African-American man can die because he has loose cigarettes or a counterfeit $20 bill? If the laws in this country have been broken, then that person should be arrested, brought to court, and tried by a jury of his peers. But for so many African Americans, it feels like they face their judge, jury and executioner at the scene of the incident. This country needs to reach its greatness. But it won’t reach it until it works for everyone.”
Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka
“On behalf of all of Newark and our residents, we applaud the jury for its decision in the Derek Chauvin case and congratulate Minnesota’s prosecutors for their work in bringing it about. It sends a clear message that people who use the cover of the law to commit murder and violate people’s fundamental rights will be met with justice. Today, Black Lives Mattered, which means all of our humanity matters.”
Lawrence Hamm, People’s Organization for Progress
“The jury is to be commended for finding Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts. This was a victory in the battle for justice for George Floyd. However, the struggle to fundamentally change the racist and repressive nature of policing in America continues.”
New Jersey Institute for Social Justice President & CEO, Roy Haygood
“America let out a breath today because legal justice was served. Even in this case, where we saw with our own eyes a police officer crush the life out of George Floyd, history did not forecast this verdict with any certainty. Yet even as we acknowledge legal justice in this one case, we must remember that real justice would mean that George Floyd was still alive. True justice would mean that Mr. Floyd would have the opportunity to see his children and grandchildren grow up. And so much more. But he won’t. Mr. Floyd was killed by Chauvin and a broader system of racist policing in America. A system that killed another Black man, Daunte Wright, just miles away from the courthouse where Chauvin was tried. A system that, before Daunte, also took the lives of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Elijah McClain, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott and so many more.”
NJDSC Chairman John Currie
“George Floyd will never go home to his family but today’s guilty verdict offers a measure of relief to his family and the millions of people so deeply affected by his death. The movement for justice that was sparked in the wake of George Floyd’s murder continues, as does our Democratic Party’s commitment to fairness and equality. We must use this moment as a time to encourage more accountability, respect and dialogue between the police and the communities they serve. If we can accomplish that, perhaps George Floyd will not have died in vain and his death can be the start of a more just society.”
32BJ New Jersey Director and Vice-president, Kevin Brown
“Justice has prevailed. But we must not stop here. The conviction of Derek Chauvin is a step in the right direction towards ending structural racism in the United States. Let this verdict be a message that we are ready to begin holding police accountable and rebuilding our judicial system. As Americans, we should be able to trust those who are charge with protecting us every day. However, the fact still remain the Black men continue to be a target of the police force nationwide, yet few officers are ever charged and even fewer are convicted. Our members are mostly Black and Brown workers, who have the right to feel safe when commuting to and from work.
Randy Thompson, CEO, Help Not Handcuffs, Inc.
“I hope that the national outrage following George Floyd’s murder and the resulting change of direction that the “Justice System” was forced to follow, sends a clear signal to police, judges and prosecutors everywhere. The people involved in this struggle will not go quietly into the night, they will confront injustice and will persist through attrition and state violence until there is an end to impunity and true justice is realized.”
Dayvon White, Son of Hasani Best
Today’s verdict is significant but we will not have justice until police everywhere are held accountable as in the unnecessary and unjustifiable murder of my father Hasani Best in Asbury Park, NJ.
Newark CCRB Chairman Richard Robinson
The murder of George Floyd was the result of inhumane police brutality that is perpetuated by a culture of white supremacy that has been lingering in our society for centuries. As a result, Black & Brown communities have been victimized and treated unfairly by members of law enforcement and by the inequities in the judicial system resulting in little or no recourse for Black and Brown people. Following this unprecedented verdict, I, as a Black Man, am now optimistic of our nation’s future as it pertains to the pursuit of justice for all, and the resolve of absolute transparency and true accountability. The conviction of Derek Chauvin, on all three counts, bestows upon the Black and Brown Communities in America a feeling of sheer optimism, a sense of finally belonging and the expectation of being treated as first class citizens in America.