Politicians, rights activists and family members and even world leaders reacted with jubilation and relief Tuesday as sacked Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin was convicted of the murder of George Floyd, a Black man who died when the officer knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes last year.
Here are some the immediate reactions following the announcement of the guilty verdicts on all three counts—second degree murder, third degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Biden welcomed the verdict, saying Floyd’s death was “a murder in full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world” to see systemic racism.
But he warned: “It’s not enough. We can’t stop here. We’re going to deliver real change and reform. We can and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that tragedies like this will ever happen again.”
“This is a day of justice in America. History will look back at this moment,” said Kamala Harris, America’s first Black vice president, on a call with Floyd’s family earlier Tuesday.
“I am feeling tears of joy, so emotional that no family in history ever got this far. We were able to get a guilty charge on all counts. We got a chance to go to trial and we took it all the way. This right here is for everyone that’s been in this situation. Everybody.” —Floyd’s brother, Rodney Floyd
“GUILTY! Painfully earned justice has finally arrived for George Floyd’s family. This verdict is a turning point in history and sends a clear message on the need for accountability of law enforcement. Justice for Black America is justice for all of America!” —Floyd family lawyer Ben Crump
“George Floyd’s family and community deserved for his killer to be held accountable. Today, they got that accountability.” —former first lady and ex-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
“I’m thankful for George Floyd’s family that justice was served. America was forever changed by the video of Derek Chauvin killing George Floyd. However, a guilty verdict doesn’t mean the persistent problem of police misconduct is solved. We’ll keep working for meaningful change” —US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
“That a family had to lose a son, brother and father; that a teenage girl had to film and post a murder, that millions across the country had to organize and march just for George Floyd to be seen and valued is not justice. And this verdict is not a substitute for policy change.” —US Congresswoman and Democratic rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
“Today’s verdict is an important step forward for justice in Minnesota. The trial is over but our work has only just begun.” —Minnesota governor Tim Walz
Academia, activism and tech
“Chauvin might never see the light of freedom again. That would be just. But it wouldn’t be nearly enough. The SYSTEM that let him murder George Floyd must be changed. But for a bystander’s iPhone camera, Chauvin wd’ve gotten away with murder!” —Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe
“The evidence of our eyes met at last by accountability in the eyes of justice” —US voting rights activist and Democrat Stacy Abrams
“While today’s verdict is a step forward in the fight for police accountability and may help heal a grieving community, the systems that allowed a police officer to murder Mr. Floyd, ripping him away from his family and the communities that loved him so much, remain fully intact.” —the American Civil Liberties Union.
“Right now I’m thinking of George Floyd, his family and those who knew him. I hope this verdict brings some measure of comfort to them, and to everyone who can’t help but see themselves in his story. We stand in solidarity with you, knowing that this is part of a bigger struggle against racism and injustice.” —Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg
“I was appalled by the death of George Floyd and welcome this verdict. My thoughts tonight are with George Floyd’s family and friends.” —British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)