‘Our work continues’: Leaders, organizations applaud Derek Chauvin verdict, urge continued push for change
Following the guilty verdict of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in his trial for the death of George Floyd, social media was flooded by reactions, from former President Barack Obama to the NFL.
"Today, a jury did the right thing. But true justice requires much more. Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, and we stand with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied," Obama said in a written statement shared on Twitter.
FILE - Derek Chauvin in court on April 20.
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Stacey Abrams tweeted that accountability and justice were upheld. "The evidence of our eyes met at last by accountability in the eyes of justice," Abrams said.
Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith echoed Abrams’ sentiments.
Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., credited Floyd’s family, the community and the work of protesters amid the demonstrations sparked by Floyd’s death.
"This verdict is the work of George Floyd's family. This is the work of community. This is the work of protesters. But this verdict is not why we come together. Our work is to save Black lives, and our work continues," Bush tweeted.
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"There is no question in my mind that the jury reached the right verdict. While this outcome should give us renewed confidence in the integrity of our justice system, we know there is more work to be done to ensure the bad apples do not define all officers — the vast majority of whom put on the uniform each day with integrity and servant hearts," Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the chamber’s only Black Republican, said.
Rev. Jesse Jackson posted a photo illustrating his raw emotions following the verdict alongside Rev. Al Sharpton, describing the moment as historic. "We never lost a battle we fought & we never won a battle unless we fought. Keep Hope Alive," Jackson wrote.
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As soon as court was adjourned, Rev. Al Sharpton gave remarks in a press conference following the verdict. Sharpton spoke of the pain endured by Floyd’s family.
"This family stood with pain, suffering and not knowing what the future held because so many families went and got nothing," Sharpton said. "They thank God when they got the indictment which would not have happened had not the Attorney General Keith Ellison took this case."
"This is the first time in a long ray of fights that we see three counts, guilty of all three. We don’t find pleasure in this, we don’t celebrate a man going to jail, we would have rather George be alive," Sharpton said.
He commended the "young people" who marched and "wouldn’t let this die."
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"And this is an assurance to them that if we don’t give up, that we can win some rounds but the war and the fight is not over," Sharpton said.
The reverend went on to highlight Daunte Wright and his upcoming funeral after he was stopped for having expired car registration tags on April 11, but Wright’s mother said he called her just before he was shot and said he’d been pulled over because he had air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror — a traffic violation in Minnesota.
Minneapolis police tried to arrest Wright after realizing he was wanted on an outstanding warrant. In the ensuing scuffle, Officer Kim Potter shot him. The city’s police chief, who resigned Tuesday, said he believed Potter had meant to fire her Taser, not her service pistol.
The NBA and the NFL both weighed in on social media in the wake of the verdict in the Chauvin trial.
"Today’s outcome in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis does not undo the loss of life. Mr. George Floyd should be here with us today. Our hearts remain with the Floyd family, and we understand the pain, anger and frustration does not go away even when justice is delivered," the NFL said in a statement posted to Twitter. "Importantly, even as we identify reasons for hope, we must continue to help move our society to a more equal and just tomorrow."
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.‘s youngest child, Bernice King, tweeted that she could "now take a breath," adding to the flood of reactions on social media after Chauvin’s verdict.
"I can now take a breath. The moral arc of the universe is long, but today it bent toward justice thanks to the millions of people under the banner of #BlackLivesMatter standing up, speaking up and not letting up for humanity," she tweeted.
Oprah took to Instagram to celebrate the guilty verdict, "Relieved—and emotional in ways I didn’t expect. I cried tears of joy as each verdict was read. I'm grateful to the witnesses and their testimonies. Grateful to Darnella Frazier. Grateful to every Juror for seeing and acknowledging what the world saw on that tape. Thank you God for real," she wrote.
Three former Minneapolis police officers are next to go to trial in the death of George Floyd after a jury found former officer Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane are charged with aiding and abetting unintentional second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. The trio will stand trial in court together beginning on Aug. 23 in Hennepin County.
Chris Williams contributed to this report.