Gov. Pritzker’s Statement on the Conviction of Derek Chauvin
Governor JB Pritzker released the following statement following the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
“No courtroom can ever replace a life, but it can and should deliver justice. Today, the jury in Derek Chauvin’s murder trial honored that truth.
“My heart goes out to the family of George Floyd, who deserve to have him alive today. I’m also thinking of all our Black communities and other communities of color who see their children or their parents or themselves in George Floyd, and Daunte Wright, and Adam Toledo, and Breonna Taylor, and Laquan McDonald.
“This verdict marks an important milestone on the journey to justice, but the fullest measure of progress is how we deliver accountability, safety and meaningful change.
“In Illinois, we are addressing law enforcement reform, criminal justice reform, economic opportunity, educational equity and health care.
“We can and must make progress every day until we have a state and a nation and a justice system that truly serve everyone. And as long as there’s more work to be done, that’s what we’ll do.”
Rush Statement on Derek Chauvin Guilty Verdict
Today, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.), issued the following statement after a Minnesota jury found Derek Chauvin guilty on all three charges — second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter — in the murder of George Floyd in May 2020.
“Today’s verdict — guilty on all three counts — is an important first acknowledgment of illegal police conduct. It holds one unlawful policeman accountable for murder. However, police accountability is not synonymous with justice.
“We still have a long way to go to ensure that every American has a guaranteed right to equal justice under the law — if America is indeed a nation built on equal justice under the law.
“Bottom feeding to populate our police forces in this nation must come to a screeching halt. Our police forces must be highly professional, highly educated, highly trained, and highly paid personnel who adhere to the highest standards of public safety and public protection.”
STATEMENT FROM MAYOR LORI E. LIGHTFOOT
In May of 2020, I saw the harrowing footage of George Floyd’s life being extinguished beneath Derek Chauvin’s knee, and I cried. I said then and I say now, being Black in America cannot be a death sentence. I join my fellow Chicagoans, Americans, and human beings across the world as justice is being served in Minneapolis today. A jury of his peers listened to the evidence presented by both sides and came to the only reasonable verdict based on the overwhelming evidence presented by the Prosecution. I want to commend the jury, the prosecution and the people of Minnesota for their invaluable work to hold Mr. Chauvin accountable for his crimes. George Floyd’s death sparked a pivotal movement for Americans fighting to end systematic racism. Today marks a moment where future generations can look back and see that we as a nation came together and rightfully demanded justice and accountability. And justice was served. Let us pray that the Lord continues to watch over George Floyd’s family and loved ones. Pray for peace as we continue on our journey towards a more just and equitable world.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle statement on the conviction of Derek Chauvin
“I want to first extend my condolences to the family of George Floyd who have had to relive painful memories during the trial.
While the guilty verdict does not bring George Floyd back, today reminds the Black and Brown people of America that sometimes, with monumental effort on behalf of the people, a verdict reflecting the true meaning of justice can be returned.
The fact that for many, today’s guilty verdict was in question, tells us we still have a long way to go in bringing accountability to policing.
Still, today’s verdict is a step in the necessary direction of reforming the systems that have entrenched racism into the police departments of this country: the codes of silence, the inadequate disciplinary systems, the bloated budgets, and the fearmongering rhetoric whenever police departments come under scrutiny.
I envision a society where policing has a place alongside a variety of other services in responding to urgent situations and hope that the bad acts of a few officers do not define the many other officers who protect and serve with honor.
But, even in the best of situations, long term improvements in public safety will not be brought about by police departments.
To prevent crime, we must address the inequities in our society; we must continue to increase our investments in the communities most affected by both crime and policing; and we must repair the harm of decades of redlining, restrictive covenants, mass incarceration, and disinvestment.”
Chicago Urban League Releases Statement in Response to the Guilty Verdict in the Chauvin Trial
Chicago Urban League President and CEO Karen Freeman-Wilson issued the following statement in reaction to the guilty verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin:
“Today, many Americans collectively breathed a sigh of relief. For Black Americans, there was also a glimpse of justice against the backdrop of lives snuffed out at the hands of law enforcement. With this verdict, rendered by an impartial jury who have listened to the evidence, we hope that we are one step closer to accountability for all who fail to value Black lives.
While systemic change must occur for a full measure of justice, we will all sleep better knowing that the deeds of Derek Chauvin were on trial and not the life of George Floyd. May the spirit of George Floyd, along with each of his family members, rest easier tonight knowing that—in this one instance—justice was served.”
The following is a statement from Margaret Huang, president and CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“The killing of George Floyd was an appalling act of police violence that shocked and horrified millions of Americans and led to protests globally calling for racial justice and police accountability. We’ve all seen the sickening video of Derek Chauvin with his knee on George Floyd’s neck. Today’s verdict is an acknowledgement that police officers cannot get away with murder, but we still have a long way to go to achieve the justice demanded by so many protesters in the last year.
“Derek Chauvin was filmed putting his knee on George Floyd’s neck for nine and a half minutes. Most cases involving police killings don’t have video capturing what happened. The fact that justice was done in this case cannot allow us to forget about the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Dion Johnson, among many others. But this case galvanized a movement for justice that has expanded across the country, rooted in longstanding demands for a reimagining of a criminal legal system built on anti-Black racism and white supremacy. Lawmakers at the state and federal level must begin holding officers accountable for police violence. The time to act is now.”
Mayor Jerome A. Prince statement on Derek Chauvin verdict
“I am satisfied with the verdict in the Derek Chauvin verdict. Like most Americans, I was horrified at the way Mr. Chauvin tortured and killed George Floyd. In this case, the jury made the right decision and showed we can achieve moments of justice in our country.
Everyday, police officers across our country put their lives on the line and do the best they can to protect our communities. It is often horrifying and always tragic when our public servants devalue human life.
Soon, the police reform commission we formed in Gary will make recommendations on their findings in their examination of our own police department. My team and I will carefully consider their recommendations and decide what, if any, steps we will take then.”
Center for Responsible Lending President Michael Calhoun issued the following statement:
“We all watched in horror last year as Derek Chauvin denied George Floyd the breath of life with a knee to his neck. While our fear that this obvious and extreme act of brutality might go unpunished has lifted, our hearts still hold the sorrow of precious lives needlessly lost.
“This brutal killing is part of the long legacy of racism and the killing of Black and brown people by police, which has continued even as this trial took place. This racism continues to permeate our society. It includes our financial system, which denies equitable opportunity for Black and brown families, who have been harmed and held down by a system that does not afford them the same access to fair, responsible services and opportunities that white communities take for granted.
“Even before our nation’s founding, Black Americans sought their freedom and the ability to enjoy the promise of America. Instead, structural racism has met them at every turn, robbing them of the humane treatment and citizenship that they deserve. Institutional discrimination is ingrained in every facet of American society, from the criminal justice system to education and housing. Black Americans deserve a fair shot at the Declaration of Independence’s promise of ‘Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.’ However, they have for centuries endured second-class citizenship despite their free labor being the foundation of our democracy.
“The Center for Responsible Lending’s work seeks to democratize access to safe and fair financial services and repair the harm done to Black Americans, as current inequities are part of the ongoing legacy of institutional discrimination in our nation. We also stand in solidarity with civil rights organizations and other Americans who resist this injustice. We call on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. And we recommit each day to pulling anti-Blackness out of the soil by its roots, holding in our hearts George Floyd and the other precious Black lives we have lost.”
The following was released by SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Greg Kelley in response to the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial:
“As a union of mothers and fathers, of hard-working women and men who give their all to protect and provide for their children, we are now breathing a sigh of relief that the jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial have delivered the most just verdict within their power.
“But we are all too aware that the verdict will not bring George Floyd back and will not protect more of our children from the same fate.
“It’s no surprise that it was a multi-racial jury that delivered this verdict—it took a multi-racial coalition to ensure that a trial was even held. And it will take an even larger multi-racial coalition powered by anger, grief and ultimately our collective love for our children to bring about the deep systemic change needed to prevent the future repetition of the all-too-familiar pattern of murder followed by denial and injustice.
“Today is a day for breathing a little more deeply and feeling the full weight of this moment—deep grief only partly relieved by this rare just verdict.
“And in the days to follow, we will again add our voices and our efforts to the growing coalition working to rethink the role of police and to reimagine public safety in this country.
“Together we have the power to bring about a world where all of us have what we need to thrive, no exceptions. Our members have long been committed to dismantling structural racism and today we recommit to doing so in the memory of George Floyd.
Justice for George, but more work can be done
State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) released the following statement after a Minnesota jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of the 2020 murder of George Floyd:
“Today, a jury decided that Derek Chauvin will be locked up and will face justice for murdering George Floyd, but we are still a long way from delivering George and his family the justice they truly deserve.
“True justice would be creating a society where police don’t murder unarmed Black people.
“True justice would be ensuring people like George Floyd receive the support they need.
“True justice would be improving the lives of people like George Floyd by investing in and enriching their communities.
“We must recognize that real police accountability goes much beyond throwing officers in prison after they commit a murder.
“Until we can achieve a society where everyone is given the opportunity to fulfil their best lives, we must continue to fight for real safety and justice for all. Public safety must belong to us, the people.”
In response to the announcement of the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin on all three counts in the killing of George Floyd, Greenlining Institute President and CEO Debra Gore-Mann released the following statement:
“Today we experienced a small measure of justice as Derek Chauvin was convicted and the killing of George Floyd was recognized as the criminal act it was. But we shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that one conviction of one cop for a killing the whole world witnessed on video will change a fundamentally racist and dysfunctional system. The whole law enforcement system must be rethought and rebuilt from the ground up so that there are no more George Floyds, Daunte Wrights and Adam Toledos. But even that is just a start.
“Policing doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Systemic racism exists in policing because systemic racism exists in America. We must fundamentally uproot the disease of racism in our society and create a transformative path forward.”
Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff on the Conviction of Derek Chauvin
Today, Center for Policing Equity CEO and Co-Founder Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff released the following statement on the conviction of Derek Chauvin:
Today’s verdict may be just, but it is not justice. No amount of accountability for Derek Chauvin can repair the devastation his murderous actions caused George Floyd’s family, the Minneapolis community, and everyone forced to grieve yet another life taken by those sworn to protect.
The accountability provided by today’s verdict is both necessary and insufficient. As we have said before, equitable systems of public safety can never take root without it. An acquittal — in a case this egregious, with the entire world as witnesses — would have permanently damaged any hope for the process of building a more just system.
Last June, I had the honor of testifying in Congress alongside George Floyd’s brother, Philonise. His charge to all of us that day, delivered from the depths of unimaginable grief, was simple: “Make sure that his death isn’t in vain.”
Holding one murderer accountable does not deliver justice for George Floyd and other victims of state-sponsored violence; only holding ourselves accountable for creating and maintaining the system that enabled Chauvin can bring us any closer. Every day, we collectively choose to continue responding to generations of discrimination and disinvestment with police violence. Every day, we could choose to work toward systems worthy of public trust instead.
That long slog toward justice must, and will, remain our solemn commitment.
Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David on Derek Chauvin Murder Trial Verdict
Today, in response to a guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Alphonso David released the following statement:
“Today, humanity won over indifference. This verdict will not bring George Floyd back, but it does hold one officer accountable for the killing of one Black person. George Floyd’s story has inspired a movement around the world for racial justice. While we welcome exercising police accountability as a crucial step towards dismantling abusive, discriminatory policing, we also know that there is more work to be done to protect all Black lives. We should take a solemn moment to grieve with the Floyd family, as we pursue the systemic change necessary to end police killings of Black people and to remove the structures that support white supremacy from our society once and for all.”
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work, and in every community
Speaker Welch’s Statement Regarding Derek Chauvin Guilty Verdict
“Today, after 11 months, we have finally received a verdict that suggests we may have some common sense of justice. While it’s important to have faith in the future of our own humanity, it should not have taken George Floyd losing his life, Gianna Floyd losing her father, for our hearts and minds to change. Nonetheless, we are here, and Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of murder by a jury of his peers. There’s nothing to celebrate, though, as a system that allows this to happen still prevails. This year our legislature passed historic police reform, and we will continue to build on that. Simply put, our work here continues and we’re going to make sure our policies in Illinois value Black lives.”