Lawmakers react to guilty verdict in Chauvin trial


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Bay Area lawmakers are reacting to Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict on the murder of George Floyd.

Chauvin was found guilty on all three charges in the death of Floyd.

Floyd died last May after Chauvin, a white officer, pinned his knee on or close to the 46-year-old Black man’s neck for about 9 1/2 minutes.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom

George Floyd would still be alive if he looked like me. That must change. No conviction can repair the harm done to the Floyd family, but today’s verdict provides accountability. Now, we must continue our work to root out the racial injustice that haunts our society.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed

This verdict does not bring back the life of George Floyd. It can’t replace the years of his life that were robbed from him, nor the life experiences and memories that would have been made with his friends and family. What this verdict does reflect is that the tide is turning in this country, although still too slowly, toward accountability and justice.

Almost eleven months ago, the world watched as Officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on the back of George Floyd’s neck. He kept it there for eight minutes and 46 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. The systemic injustice from hundreds of years of racism and mistreatment of Black Americans was put into plain view on video, and the country and the world erupted in protest.

While we’re now months removed from the height of those protests, the need for action is as critical as ever. This is about more than prosecuting the officer who killed George Floyd, though that is an important step. It’s about fundamentally restructuring how policing is done to move away from the use of excessive force. It’s about shifting responses to non-violent calls away from an automatic police response to something better equipped to handle the situation. It’s about reinvesting in communities in which years of systematic disinvestment has made it nearly impossible for people to thrive. It’s about changing who we are as a country.

That’s what we’re trying to do in San Francisco. Our Street Crisis Response Teams, consisting of paramedics and behavioral health specialists, are now often the first responders to non-violent 911 calls relating to mental health and substance use. Our Dream Keeper Initiative is redirecting $120 million to improve the lives of Black youth and their families through investments in everything from housing, to healthcare, to workforce training and guaranteed income. And our sustained, multi-year efforts to reform our police department has resulted in a 57% reduction in instances of use of force and a 45% decrease in officer involved shootings since 2016.

While this tragedy can never be undone, what we can do is finally make real change in the name of George Floyd. Nothing we can do will bring him back, but we can do the work to prevent others from facing his fate in the future. That is the work we need to do. It’s ongoing, it’s challenging, but if we are committed we can make a real and lasting difference in this country.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf

“The verdict of guilty on all charges gave me an overwhelming sense of relief but followed by an overwhelming sense of sorrow. The fact that we had to even question whether the verdict could be what it was, the fact that someone who acting under state authority could commit such a heinous crime, it is something that we all need to contemplate and work to ensure it never happens again.”

Watch full interview with Mayor Schaaf above.

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin

“For so many years, justice has been denied when African Americans have died at the hands of law enforcement.  Today justice has finally been delivered. It is my hope that we can build on this moment and call upon local leaders to act swiftly and meaningfully to build lasting trust between marginalized communities and law enforcement to prevent more senseless violence. Years of over-policing and under-resourcing communities of color have contributed to stark racial disparities in policing and use-of-force incidents. This must end. Berkeley’s decisions to end police stops for minor infractions that pose no public safety risk, assign unarmed civilians to enforce traffic codes rather than armed police officers, and have trained crisis-response workers respond to select 911 calls are all aimed at reducing unnecessary — and potentially dangerous — police contacts with the community. Cities around the country, including Minneapolis, are beginning to follow suit recognizing that by allowing police officers to focus on violent crime and individuals posing imminent public safety risks, we can promote public safety while taking steps to end unnecessary police interventions that can have tragic consequences.”

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo

Sen. Alex Padilla

“Today’s verdict represents the promise of our justice system: that power cannot protect an offender, and that every victim deserves justice, regardless of the color of their skin. Too often, communities of color have been denied this promise. 

“Police officers’ disproportionate use of force against people of color is a stain on our nation. The list of Black and Brown Americans killed by law enforcement and denied accountability in court is abhorrently long.

“I stand with the community of Minneapolis, the Black Lives Matter movement, and millions of Americans in mourning the murder of George Floyd by Officer Derek Chauvin. And I know that true justice will require work far beyond this verdict. Accountability for police officers should be an expectation, not an aberration. It is past time to reform our justice system to recognize at every level that Black lives matter.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein

The entire nation saw the tragic murder of George Floyd on television. This verdict is an opportunity to show all Americans that police must be held accountable for their actions.

We are once again reminded of people like Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Walter Scott in South Carolina, Stephon Clark in California, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and too many others who lost their lives to police brutality.

I have great respect for law enforcement, but I always believe there must be transparency and accountability. The trial and today’s verdict is a step in that direction.

Legal analyst Steven Clark

KRON4’s Terisa Estacio talked to a former prosecutor and legal analyst about what went right this time and why it wasn’t “only” the video.

Sen. Dave Cortese

“While many of us are relieved that some measure of justice was served through this verdict, today only serves as a reminder that there is still so much work to be done to dismantle the systemic injustice that pervades our law enforcement and criminal justice systems. Rest in Peace George Floyd.”

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