Lawmakers, sports teams and others in our community are reacting to a Minnesota jury's decision to find former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts in the May 2020 death of George Floyd.
Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. He is now back in police custody.
TMJ4 News is compiling reaction from our state:
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett:
“A jury in Minneapolis has reviewed the facts in the Chauvin case and delivered a just verdict.”
“The image of George Floyd dying is a permanent part of our collective memory. To move forward, we must understand violence against Black people—and other people of color—is real. And, while rare, there are people in positions of authority who perpetrate that violence. I condemn that.”
“Here in Milwaukee, we are moving forward with new approaches in law enforcement. We are focused on accountability, evolving law enforcement culture, and increasing community respect.”
“The death of George Floyd prompted many to raise their voices for justice. Peaceful petitioning for change is an essential part of American society. It is essential for Milwaukee’s future. Peace and peaceful protest is the way to reach the goals we share.”
Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell R. Lucas:
Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell R. Lucas Statement on the Verdicts in the Chauvin Trial pic.twitter.com/HN254iFtXQ— Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office (@MCSOSheriff) April 20, 2021
Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley:
“My thoughts are with the family, the friends, and the community of George Floyd who are deserving of our continued love, strength, and support.
“For close to a year, millions across the globe joined the family in their righteous calls for justice, but true justice lies beyond a single verdict. Even after the entire world witnessed George Floyd’s life taken on film, more Black and Brown people lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement. Just days ago, another Black man, Daunte Wright, was killed by a police officer just ten miles away from the courthouse where the Chauvin trial was taking place. A single verdict cannot bring justice for the Floyd family or the family of Daunte Wright who will forever shoulder the incomparable loss of a loved one.
“Real justice is living in a world where George Floyd and Daunte Wright are alive today and their killers never had the power to take their lives in the first place. Justice is dismantling the systems that endanger Black and Brown lives, transgender lives, Asian-American and Pacific Islander lives, and the lives of so many others part of communities who for generations have never felt safe – even in their own homes. Justice is intentionally working towards a world where someone’s life expectancy can’t be predicted by their zip code.
“Last year was a turning point as we saw the largest civil rights protest in recent memory in response to Floyd’s killing. It is my hope that today’s verdict serves as a turning point as well to finally acknowledging the historical and ongoing impact of systemic racism in communities across the country, and that we begin the work to see our neighbors as human beings worthy of the same rights and opportunities as the next person.“I’m glad to see that after nearly a year, the Floyd family can rest tonight knowing George’s killer will be held accountable, but the system is guilty as well. Today, we must all commit ourselves to the work of achieving racial equity and bringing an end to the systemic forces that continue to devalue the lives of our fellow residents.”
Gov. Tony Evers:
“There’s no verdict that can bring peace to loved ones when someone is taken from them. My heart and thoughts are with George Floyd’s family, his loved ones, and the entire community.
“While this is a moment of accountability in our justice system and our country, we are reminded that justice for Black lives is not a moment—it requires meaningful, sustained, and systemic change.
“Today’s verdict doesn’t replace the changes we must make to keep our promises of a more fair and more equitable state and country. Every day—and especially today—we must reaffirm and resolve to continue our work toward justice.”
From members of the Milwaukee Common Council (Alderman Cavalier Johnson, Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, Alderman Nik Kovac, Alderman Robert J. Bauman, Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa, Alderwoman Chantia Lewis, Alderman Michael J. Murphy, Alderman Mark A. Borkowski, Alderman José G. Pérez, Alderman Scott Spiker and Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic):
Today’s verdict in the case of Derek Chauvin, in which he was found guilty on all counts in the death of George Floyd, is an important step forward for the Floyd family, the country and those around the world.
We are happy that George Floyd’s family received justice for the egregious act that occurred last May, and this verdict represents hope and relief for many that have called for reform and increased police accountability during the last year.
While this trial may have concluded, the work to truly reform our public safety systems is still ongoing. Far too many people from communities of color have lost their lives from interactions with law enforcement, and continue to face injustices throughout our policing and legal systems.
We on the Common Council remain dedicated to enacting reform that benefits ALL residents and eliminates structural inequities. It will be a long road ahead, but one that we are committed to traveling down.
So let us stand together today in recognition of this moment, and work together to build on this momentum moving forward.
U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore:
“The world watched George Floyd’s final moments and refused to look away. Communities around the country and the world demanded change.
My heart continues to go out to the Floyd family, and I hope that jury’s decision today gives them some comfort. But the pursuit of justice and real reform to restore trust between communities and police must continue. No more Black men or women must lose their lives.
In my 70 years of life, I have seen justice denied too many times. I realized I had to use my voice, my power, to create change in Milwaukee. I was once a young activist who cut classes to join Vel Phillips and Father Groppi in the streets to call for fair housing in Milwaukee. I remember protesting with my son after the killing of Ernest Lacy and then years later, calling for change after Dontre Hamilton’s death.
Systemic change takes consistent time, effort, and organizing. Our work is far from over, we must continue fighting for change outside of that courtroom to improve our communities.”
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin:
“George Floyd pleaded for his life and it’s clear to me that police officer Derek Chauvin used excessive force and took it away. Justice has been rightly served and he will be held accountable for this murder. Far too many Black lives have been taken by police and change is long overdue. This must strengthen our resolve to take action and pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to help stop systemic racism and bias in policing and start saving lives.”
State Rep. David Bowen:
“Today, we saw a small measure of justice served for George Floyd. Derek Chauvin, the officer who so horrifically knelt on the neck of George Floyd until he died, has been found guilty of Second Degree Murder, Third Degree Murder, and Second Degree Manslaughter.”
Moments ago, after roughly 10 hours of deliberation, the jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin announced a verdict finding Chauvin guilty on all three counts in connection to the killing of George Floyd last May. Over the course of a nearly month-and-a-half-long trial, prosecutors laid out a compelling case highlighting the recklessness, negligence, and disregard for human life shown by Chauvin in his arrest of George Floyd. Chauvin now awaits sentencing and the prospect of decades in prison.
“To be clear, if the system were truly just, George Floyd would still be alive today. If the system were truly just, Derek Chauvin would never have felt emboldened enough to kneel on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds. If the system were truly just, Black communities across the country would not fear for their lives during everyday interactions with police.
But even within this system, where actual, meaningful justice is all too elusive all too frequently, today we saw a jury of twelve Americans make the correct decision to hold a police officer fully accountable for an inexcusable act of brutality. An act of brutality so clear that every law enforcement leader and advocate for justice agreed these actions were beneath what officers are called to do. These jurors weighed the facts of the case as presented to them, and unanimously agreed that Derek Chauvin’s actions amounted to murder.
Today, we celebrate this victory in the ongoing fight for justice and equity, but we remain committed to marching, to holding our officials & law enforcement leaders accountable, and to transforming our system so that we never have to face a moment like this ever again. Black lives matter when the system makes them matter.”
State Sen. Chris Larson:
“On March 31st, 1968. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered one of the most memorable lines in a life that was full of them. “We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” Some 53 years later, one could forgive Black Americans if they started to wonder if this sentiment had in fact proven to be untrue. As our nation, and indeed much of the world, erupted in protest for racial justice last year in numbers not seen since the 1960s, hope for real reform began to grow. But, as we have seen time after time, tragedy after tragedy, while the arc of the moral universe may be long, it doesn’t bend toward justice all on its own.
“It’s a reality that George Floyd experienced first-hand for the last 9 minutes and 29 seconds of his life, as Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck ‘til he died. Video of this tragic and brazen misuse of force by a man sworn to serve and protect has traumatized people of color, particularly young Black men, in a way that no white person can truly comprehend.
“Today, the jury reached a verdict of guilty on all 3 counts in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin. It’s hard to call it justice when George Floyd will never see his family again, but at the very least the famed “blue wall” of silence has begun to crumble, and our justice system can work, even for those it has too often hurt.
“One positive verdict does not undo all the damage that’s been done. How does the United States reckon with its original sin of slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, and decades of bigotry and gaslighting from people and institutions that have continued to fail people of color in spectacular fashion? How do we create communities where all residents are equally respected and protected by the public servants who serve in their name?
“It starts with all of us being honest with ourselves, admitting our biases, and doing our part to dismantle the systems of oppression that have allowed white supremacy to thrive for over 400 years in this occupied indigenous land that makes up our shared country.
“It’s about embracing our humanity and rejecting any system or ideology that would seek to divide us and turn our neighbors into enemies.
“With steps forward and stumbles backward, let us again rededicate ourselves to the purposeful improvement of our justice system, our country, and our sense of humanity. Today isn’t a finish line or a starting line, it’s a mile marker of progress in bending the arc slowly toward justice.”
State Rep. Gordon Hintz:
“George Floyd should be alive today. I am encouraged that the jury found Derek Chauvin guilty, but their finding does not bring George Floyd back. It does not erase the loss for those who knew him, and the trauma for those for whom his death hits close to home.
“Today’s verdict must be followed by systemic change across our nation as we work for justice. As an elected official, I will continue listening to the Wisconsinites who are speaking out about their lived experiences in our state and I will continue working to reform the systems that perpetuate violence against people of color.
Today, in a new legislative session, I again urge my colleagues to take action to address the systemic inequities that permeate our state and undermine confidence in our criminal justice system. These problems have not gone away, and leaders at all levels have a duty to respond. We must make change happen.”
Attorney General Josh Kaul:
No jury verdict can bring Mr. Floyd back. Nor does this verdict mean that we don’t need to reform our criminal justice system. pic.twitter.com/XvEg3kZ0IU— Attorney General Josh Kaul (@WisDOJ) April 20, 2021
The Bucks organization is encouraged that justice was served by the Derek Chauvin verdict in the horrific murder of George Floyd. While this decision provides accountability to this police officer for his heinous crime, we must continue to address police officers’ excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with people of color.
Reoccurring examples of deadly use of force by police officers have become common place, including in our backyard of Kenosha, Minneapolis and so many other parts of the country.
The Bucks organization remains strongly committed to addressing issues of police brutality, social injustice, and racism and continue to demand real change for African Americans and all marginalized members of our community. We hope this verdict offers a sense of justice to the Floyd family and our thoughts go out to them for their loss.
State Rep. Greta Neubauer:
“Last year, we witnessed the senseless, brutal, and terrible murder of George Floyd at the hands of former police officer Derek Chauvin. Today, Chauvin was convicted by a Minnesota jury. This verdict is the start of justice, but we cannot forget that in a truly just system, George Floyd would be alive today.
"We cannot only seek justice in response to a tragedy — we must build toward a truly just system. We must change how we police, how we prosecute, and how we incarcerate. But also change how we invest in and strengthen our communities.
"My heart is with George Floyd's family, his friends, and his community. Today and every day, Black Lives Matter.”
Racine Mayor Cory Mason:
"Today, Derek Chauvin was brought to justice for brutally killing George Floyd in the streets of Minneapolis one year ago. It is a historic moment, as it is the first time in recent history that an on-duty officer has been held accountable for killing an unarmed black man. This lone verdict does not fix the institutional and systemic racism that exists in this country, but it does show that the justice system is capable of holding officers accountable when they choose to operate so clearly outside of their training. As a City, must continue the work of listening to community members and building a better, more just justice system. We remain committed to implementing the recommendations of the Mayor's Police Reform Task Force and will continue to build community trust and partnership with our own police department through our community-oriented policing model. While this is not justice for George Floyd - justice would mean that he was alive and with his family today - it is my sincere hope that this verdict brings some measure of peace and closure to his family and friends."