ATLANTA - Moments after the guilty verdict of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, public figures in Atlanta and across the state began to chime in.
The jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. The 12 jurors deliberated for around 10 hours before deciding to convict Chauvin of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Atlanta Mayor Kiesha Lance Bottoms released a somber statement after the verdict was announced:
"While I am grateful that the verdict is guilty on all three counts, there is no verdict or punishment that will bring George Floyd back to his family. As tragedies have propelled our nation into a level of needed consciousness and action in the past, it is my sincere hope that the tragic death of George Floyd will forever be our reminder that the work towards reform, healing and reconciliation is not a one time event. We must continue this work if we ever hope to truly be one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all."
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr issued the following statement on Tuesday's verdict:
"Our nation is predicated on the rule of law, due process, and a judicial system that provides accountability when crimes are committed. Today the jury in Minnesota provided that accountability for the death of George Floyd. We must continue to protect the lives and liberties of all Americans and use this tragedy as a step toward healing our communities and our Nation."
Gov. Brian Kemp released a statement Thursday, the morning following the verdict, hoping it would restore community's faith in the justice system:
"Last year, America and the world witnessed injustice with our own eyes. It is my hope yesterday’s clear verdict can begin to heal our communities and our nation. I join all Georgians in continuing to pray for George Floyd’s family and loved ones in their tragic loss."
U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff issues a statement following Chauvin's guilty verdict urging his colleagues to pass criminal justice reform.
"George Floyd's murderer has been convicted, but brutality and racial bias will persist in our justice system until we enact reform. I am urging my colleagues in the Senate to pass criminal justice reform that will ensure public safety, rebuild trust between communities and law enforcement, and secure equal justice for all."
Dr. Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, responded to the news in a tweet. She followed her initial reaction by expressing condolences to Floyd's family, including his daughter, Gianna.
State Sen. Jen Jordan said in part, "we owe it to the Floyd family to continue to fight for accountability for police misconduct, as well as for systemic changes to policing, and for investments in communities most impacted by police violence."
Georgia's AME Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, the Presiding Prelate of the Sixth Episcopal District remarked that it's time for people to keep Floyds family in thoughts and prayers:
"The ramifications of George Floyd’s murder will continue to impact our country for generations to come, and he will never be forgotten.
"While we will have to wait and hope that this tragic and unneeded loss will help us become a stronger and better country, this afternoon’s historic verdict provides some immediate points for reflection and clarity.
"First, the AME Church hopes this verdict offers some solace to the beautiful Floyd family. They have suffered so much. Our prayers have been with them since the very beginning, and it is our hope that through this verdict, they find peace. We have been truly blessed by their grace and the example they have provided us all. We know that the love that surrounds them is far greater than the hate we witnessed on that fateful day – and we hope that this verdict helps their path in the future.
"Second, this afternoon’s verdict confirmed what many of us already knew – that George Floyd died because a police officer kneeled on his neck for over 9 minutes and stopped his breathing. This verdict gives each of us new hope for the integrity of our judicial system. "Today, our justice system has proclaimed that it is a new day and that the rule of law matters. While progress was made this afternoon, there is still a great deal of work that remains. For the last four years, our country has seen a dramatic rise in officer brutality and crimes of hate. As we showcased in front of Home Depot today just a few hours before the verdict, significant inequities continue to exist in our society, including the right to vote for the African American community, but together we can triumph over hate and prejudice.
"The AME Church is committed to this calling and hopes to build on today’s verdict. We will continue to strive to bring people together and build peaceful, positive, and needed change to this great country."
The Atlanta Hawks issued a statement reading in part that, "while the verdict can never fully bring solace to the loved ones of George Floyd, it is a start in their healing and that of the entire Black community that continues to grieve his loss and countless others at the hands of senseless brutality."
The Atlanta Dream sent out a statement in the wake of the verdict, which reads: "With the announcement of today’s guilty verdict, justice was served. Though it will not bring George Floyd back or eliminate the grief that his family has experienced, we are making progress on the path toward social justice & racial equity."
Clayton County Public Schools Superintendent/CEO of Schools, Dr. Morcease J. Beasley, urged for peace and safety of school district students, teachers, staff and families:
"As we all reflect and absorb the ruling made in the Derek Chauvin murder trial of George Floyd, I implore you to utilize the emotions felt as a result of this verdict; good or bad, in a positive and befitting manner to improve upon the lives and communities we all lead beyond the outcome of this trial. I also believe it is a time for true leaders to emerge and all leaders to encourage peaceful, civil, and orderly demonstrations. Now is not the time to make rash decisions that negatively impact the economic or social advancement of our respective communities. In a time such as this, we must continue to work together, with elected and appointed officials as well as law enforcement to support and uplift all communities. We should also remember that our greatest power is at the ballot box. We must utilize our power to influence how our resources are spent/distributed so that the greatest good can be achieved for all people. Let us remember that we have an obligation to our children to protect their future by electing those candidates that will lead with dignity, efficacy, responsibility, and accountability. No amount of changes to the voting laws should discourage you to exercise your right to cast your ballot which basically would be conceding defeat. It is important that leaders from across the spectrum -- civic, local government, faith-based, community activist -- pause and reflect on the importance of this moment in our history and the impact it will have on our future. We must learn from the devastation in our communities and our neighborhoods resulting from the immediate reaction to the Rodney King verdict nearly 30 years ago and how long it took to recover and to move forward. It is also important that we put our faith into greater perspective and trust that justice; while sometimes delayed, will always prevail. It is never denied. As a reminder, we encourage all stakeholders to review the "Safety Measures: Staying Safe During Civil Unrest" brochure created by the Clayton County Public Schools Department of Safety and Security (https://tinyurl.com/CCPSCivilUnrestBrochure)."
DEREK CHAUVIN TRIAL COVERAGE:
- Derek Chauvin verdict: Guilty on all counts in George Floyd's death
- Derek Chauvin verdict: What happens next? 3 other officers charged in George Floyd death to be tried
- Biden, Harris to address the nation following Derek Chauvin guilty verdict
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