Following a jury’s verdict today convicting Derek Chauvin of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd, state and local officials weighed in on its meaning.
Statement from Senator Cory Booker
This verdict is justice served—but it is not justice for George Floyd. True justice would be a country where George Floyd would still be alive today. True justice demands action—it demands change & that we do everything we can to stop this from happening again & again & again.
Statement from Governor Phil Murphy
George Floyd, like countless other Black Americans whose futures have been unjustly stolen from them, should be alive today. While today’s verdict provides some measure of justice and accountability for the Floyd family and millions of our fellow Americans, all of us must remember that systemic racism is still pervasive in American life. While we are glad that justice has prevailed in this case, George Floyd’s murder is a painful reminder that inequality has deep roots in American history, starting during slavery and continuing to the present day in areas such as wages, health care, housing, education, and treatment by law enforcement. This has been a trying moment in our nation’s history, but we must be resolute in our fight for justice to ensure that the pain of yesterday, and the pain of today, does not become the pain of tomorrow.
Statement from Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal
This was the right verdict. But as a career prosecutor, I know how even a successful trial verdict can leave the families of victims with a sense of emptiness. A conviction cannot undo the trauma; it can never bring back a lost loved one. We simply hope it can bring some closure to those most in pain.
A flawed system laid the groundwork for the death of George Floyd. It’s a system that too often fails to recruit police from the communities they guard, fails to train officers properly, fails to place just limits on the use of force against citizens, and fails to create mechanisms for the independent investigation of misconduct. It’s a system that badly needs reform—here and across the country.
While I am heartened to see some justice done for Mr. Floyd, it is not enough. We must seize this moment, when the nation’s focus has turned to how our communities are policed, to ensure something meaningful comes from a man’s unnecessary death, and to continue with urgency the reforms we have begun to policing practices in New Jersey.
To learn more about what we are doing in the Garden State, visit www.njoag.gov/policing. There’s much more work to be done.
Statement from the County Prosecutors Association of New Jersey
Today, the jury delivered justice not only for the family and loved ones of George Floyd, but for the millions of Americans of color who for decades have experienced a different reality of uneven treatment by law enforcement. What we witnessed in Minneapolis last May was not policing, but was murder and an absolute abdication of the values of protecting and serving. With this verdict, our country can begin the long and complex process of healing, which we know will also involve continued dialogue between communities and law enforcement, as well as ongoing police reform, increased transparency, and accountability. We thank the Jury for their service.
Statement from Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop
Today justice was served by the jury in the Derek Chauvin trial returning a verdict of guilty on all three counts. The sadness and loss that George Floyd’s family and friends feel will unfortunately never totally go away. That sadness is shared throughout our country and here in Jersey City.
This verdict also serves as proof that there is still justice and accountability in our country, and I am hopeful that it can be a starting point for bringing more meaningful reforms nationally and locally so that we will no longer be hearing name after name of black lives that were taken too soon by law enforcement that swore to protect them.
Statement from Jersey City Councilman At-Large Rolando Lavarro
Today, justice has been served. George Floyd’s life and humanity is affirmed. While this is a major verdict, and countless people are breathing a sigh of relief, this verdict will not bring George Floyd back. Nor will it bring back so many black and brown lives who have suffered senseless deaths. One verdict does not correct institutional racism and generations of injustice.
Rather, we will need to work together to root out systemic bias in the criminal justice system. We need to reimagine policing. We need to pass legislation to create a strong Civilian Complaint Review Board in Jersey City.
But the truth is that the only way we will see real systemic change is if we each make the change in our own hearts. Because at the end of the day, collectively we all make up this unjust system, and there is something each of us can do and own up to, getting off the sidelines and fighting for a more just system.
Statement from Jersey City Ward E Councilman James Solomon
George Floyd should still be alive today. The jury’s verdict convicting his murderer does not change that. It does, however, deliver justice and a small piece of mind to his family. It affirms the fact that his life mattered.