Local reactions to the guilty verdicts of Derek Chauvin

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In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin listens as his defense attorney Eric Nelson gives closing arguments as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill preside Monday, April 19, 2021, in the trial of Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Michigan politicians and leaders around the state are reacting to the guilty verdicts for former Minnesota Police Officer Derek Chauvin.

You can find those below:

We already knew he was guilty. #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd is when Black people no longer have to worry about the next Chauvin. The entire system is Chauvin.

#DefundThePolice

#BlackLivesMatter

Black Lives Matter Lansing

“This conviction brings some measure of justice to George Floyd’s family, and to a nation that has grieved for him and so many other people of color unjustly killed at the hands of officers who are sworn to protect them. We now must turn our attention to the kind of reforms necessary to eliminate the embedded bias and structural racism that exists in some police departments. Now begins the work of community restoration and rebuilding trust in policing. We are reaching out to police and community leaders throughout Michigan to address these issues here.”

The Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights James E. White

“Holding Derek Chauvin accountable for murdering George Floyd was the bare minimum to bring justice to this tragedy, and we hope George Floyd’s family may find some closure in this guilty verdict. But it is only one small step toward real justice for the Black community. This verdict cannot bring back George Floyd, nor can it repair the damage systemic racism has done to communities across the country. We cannot let this be a stopping point in the fight for racial justice. Black and brown people deserve a future free from the fear and pain caused by unchecked police brutality. We stand with the Black community today and every day and are committed to defunding the police, dismantling white supremacy, and working to create a more just, equitable future.”

Progress Michigan

“We applaud the decision and hope it brings some semblance of justice to George Floyd’s family and their community. We are committed to ensuring racial justice is at the forefront of what we do at AFT Michigan and hope this decision will bring some relief to the Black and brown children in our communities’ schools who have had to bear witness to and experience continued injustice. But our work does not end with one verdict. We stand with those organizing for public safety that truly protects and serves all people, regardless of race, gender or zip code.”

AFT Michigan Statement on Chauvin Guilty Verdict

“Justice has been served. Yet our work to dismantle systemic racism, in policing and all its forms, must continue. We must eliminate the barriers that have prevented or made it more difficult for Black Michiganders, as well as marginalized people of all races, to live, work, drive and vote in our state. I will continue to work to that end.”

Statement from Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson

For George Floyd and his family, justice. For the rest of us, a reminder to continue pushing for justice in every corner of our society. My heart is with George Floyd’s family, and I want them to know that millions of Michiganders, Minnesotans, and Americans mourn with them. No verdict can bring George back, but his legacy will live on. Last year, millions of people around the world spoke with a collective voice when we said Black Lives Matter. Together, we will continue tackling the deep-rooted, structural racism and inequity present in our institutions and faced by Black Americans every day. Our work is just getting started. I think George’s daughter Gianna Floyd said it best, “Daddy changed the world

Governor Gretchen Whitmer

I acknowledge that I will never be able to truly understand the pain and trauma experienced by those in our Black and African American communities and by other people of color. I remain steadfast in our commitment to rooting out racial inequities that affect members of the campus community.Accordingly, since the events of summer 2020, I appointed the formation of the Task Force on Racial Equity that resulted in a list of recommendations that includes expanding the MSU Police Department’s Inclusion and Anti-Bias Unit. Additionally, as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee finalizes its strategic framing for the university, one of the driving areas will be to increase diversity in our student, faculty and staff community.The well-being of our campus community is of utmost importance. For those impacted by the outcome of the trial, know that MSU offers resources for students and employees. Students can visit Counseling and Psychiatric Services. You can also call its crisis hotline, which is available 24/7. To reach a crisis counselor, call 517-355-8270 and press “1.” Employees can visit the Employee Assistance Program or set up an appointment by calling 517-355-4506.

Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., MSU Office of the President

“I join millions of Americans in standing alongside George Floyd’s family as we honor his life and legacy and acknowledge the historic nature of today’s verdict. The trenches of systematic racism still run deep in this country though and the outcome of this trial does not mean that we are going to miraculously become a more tolerant, more generous, and more welcoming democracy. Our Black and Brown sisters and brothers are still not safe in America. We need true reform to policing before real justice, not just accountability, is served.” 

Michigan Democratic Party Statement

As a movement of working class people of all races and backgrounds, we know our fight for economic justice is deeply tied to the fight for racial justice. Until Black people can thrive, none of our communities can. When we demand a seat at the table, when we raise our voices together to demand our employers and elected leaders value, respect and protect us, it’s not just about the workplace. It’s about building our collective power and insisting that working people have a say in the decisions that impact our communities, our rights, and our lives. So long as George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, and other Black and brown victims of police brutality continue to be denied justice, we will continue the fight to dismantle white supremacy and to defend and uplift Black lives. We must reimagine public safety beyond policing and violence. We must fight for a future where our communities are safe for all, no exceptions. Black lives matter. We stand with you. 

Michigan Essential Workers, Domoique Jackson, a Detroit McDonald’s worker and leader with Fight for $15 and Mary McClendon, a nursing home worker and member of SEIU Healthcare Michigan, on behalf of SEIU Michigan and Detroit Fight for $15

To the Eastern Michigan University community,

 These past several weeks the world has focused on the trial of Derek Chauvin, former Minneapolis Police Officer, now found guilty in the murder of George Floyd. Although this verdict cannot bring back Mr. Floyd, I am hopeful it is a critical step toward creating a society where Black Lives Matter.Although the verdict against Derek Chauvin is a step in moving us forward, the reality is we have much work to do across all of our structures, organizations, and institutions to eradicate systemic racial inequities and injustices. Holding Derek Chauvin accountable will not eradicate the racism woven throughout the fabric of our society. The murder of George Floyd, and more recently the killings of Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo, and countless other Black and Brown people, is the tip of the iceberg. This is not only a problem within policing and our criminal justice system. We see it in the attack on voting rights, the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, inequities throughout our education system, and all levels of society. We must own that racism, hate, and injustice are present in our campus environment as well. I hear the frustration, anger, and demand for change. I hear your pain and see the daily struggles. You are right when you say words only go so far and action is needed. We can and must do better. As a University. As a nation. As individuals and communities.

Eastern Michigan University, President James Smith Statement Regarding Derek Chauvin

Today, justice was served for George Floyd and his family. As a Black man in America, I have felt the sting of racism and injustice personally, and too many of our brothers and sisters know the visceral pain and exhaustion that communities of color face every day. That is why we must honor George Floyd’s legacy and the legacy of countless others as we advance justice and tackle inequities through our words and deeds. We have to address the pain that so many individuals are feeling with purpose as we work towards restoring the respect that all individuals of color deserve. When we do that, we can ensure that everyone makes it home to their loved ones at the end of the day. This verdict is a good outcome, and it was made possible by the community organizers, faith leaders, and law enforcement officers, who had to courage to make their voices heard, but the work is not done. We must continue to press for policies that protect and expand access to justice and opportunity.”

Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrest

“Justice has been served. Yet our work to dismantle systemic racism, in policing and all its forms, must continue. We must eliminate the barriers that have prevented or made it more difficult for Black Michiganders, as well as marginalized people of all races, to live, work, drive and vote in our state. I will continue to work to that end.”

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson

“The verdict is a relief and long overdue justice for George Floyd, Minneapolis and people all of the U.S. But the work to reimagine policing, prioritizing investing in community rather than punishment and surveillance, and holding prosecutors, judges and law enforcement accountable continues until no citizen fears violence at the hand of law enforcement or the justice system,”

Tim Christensen, Community Navigator & Training Director of Michigan Liberation.

THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN STATEMENT

“I hope this verdict can provide some semblance of peace and healing for George Floyd’s family and friends, for the scores of other Black family members and friends who have lost someone they cared about to police violence, and for the Black and brown people and their allies of all races and ethnicities around the state, country and world who were praying for the best but preparing for the worst. Sadly, today’s verdict cannot bring George Floyd back to life. But it can show that George Floyd’s life mattered, that taking it violently and blatantly has consequences, and that Derek Chauvin must be held accountable for his actions.But today’s verdict still only amounts to one step toward justice and accountability. There cannot be justice when innocent Black and brown people are killed. The surprise by many at the jury’s guilty verdict is very telling. It’s hard to trust in a justice system whose power often goes unchecked and that lacks accountability for harm inflicted while criminalizing poverty and perpetuating racial disparities. And the recent police killings of Daunte Wright and 13-year-old Adam Toledo show that police violence continues to pose a real threat to all Black and brown people of all ages. As a society, we still have so much work to do in policy and policing reform to make sure that Black and brown people are afforded the same protections as White people in their interactions with the police. With the news today, let’s commit to the work that is necessary to bring about actual justice for all Black people.”

THE MICHIGAN LEAGUE FOR PUBLIC POLICY

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