HOUSTON – Houston-area leaders, local officials and celebrities are reacting to the guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on George Floyd’s neck.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Houston native, died on May 25 after being arrested on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill for a pack of cigarettes at a corner market. He panicked, pleaded that he was claustrophobic and struggled with police when they tried to put him in a squad car. They put him on the ground instead.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who has been very vocal about the Floyd case, held a press conference in Houston shortly after Chauvin’s guilty verdict.
“Let me say that justice has been served. The Floyd family has waited almost a year for this verdict. But they will experience the loss of their loved one, George, for the rest of their lives,” said Turner. My prayers go out to the George Floyd family. I talked with them this morning, and so my prayers go out to everyone one of them. And in addition to that, my prayers go out to this country because there is a lot of pain, a lot of hurt, frustration, and division.”
He also mentioned a task force that could handle similar situations, but more on that will come in the following weeks.
“The jury has spoken, but it is time for this country to reach deep down and find a way to move forward. Because as we deal with issues on multiple levels, we need the community and law enforcement to work hand in hand in the best interest of the people we serve. It is a time to be reflective and ask what we can do to make our city better, our country better, and find ways to work together,’ said Turner. “We are committed to implementing the overwhelming majority of the recommendations of the Mayor’s Task Force on Police Reform. Next week, there will be an announcement.”
Watch Turner’s full presser below:
Several other local leaders and officials also spoke out about the verdict:
Statement from Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg on the Derek Chauvin verdict:
“Justice is a process and these jurors showed tremendous courage in reaching a just verdict.
Millions saw the video, which we all found devastating. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of George Floyd, a Houston son whose murder is a defining moment in American criminal justice.”
Statement from the George Floyd Memorial Foundation regarding Derek Chauvin verdict:
“We are pleased that the individual who senselessly killed George Floyd in cold blood and for the world to see has been held accountable for his reprehensible actions. While nothing can bring George back, we are thankful that a jury of Derek Chauvin’s peers recognized that what he did was criminal.
Our goal at the George Floyd Memorial Foundation is to keep George’s memory alive by honoring him through acts of service and by providing opportunities for high school students and law school students to have every opportunity to succeed by providing much-needed scholarships and other financial assistance.
Throughout his life, George Floyd gave the shirt off of his back for those who needed it more than he did. His commitment to the community was unparalleled.
We will work to continue to emulate all of the positive things he did while he lived because we believe his caring spirit will never die.”
Statement from Commissioner Adrian Garcia regarding the Derek Chauvin verdict:
“I applaud the jury making the right decision and confirming what so many of us around the country witnessed for ourselves. Derek Chauvin faced a jury truly representative of his peers and had a strong defense. The justice system has worked in this case, and we can feel confident in the verdict.
The fact that members of Derek Chauvin’s own department testified that he was out of line, makes a more than compelling case for his guilt. These officers helped hold a bad actor among their ranks accountable. Law enforcement must strive toward accountability to build trust with the community, or the unrest we have seen in recent years will continue.
“As someone who has worn a badge and uniform for nearly 30 years, these cases that cause distrust of the diverse women and men who put their lives at risk daily, are always painful. However, to have a verdict like this, when there’s overwhelming evidence, is critical to prove that we can hold those who violate the public trust accountable for their actions. Looking ahead, it is important that our communities and law enforcement commit to working together on a path forward that will bring meaningful change.”
HISD, Dr. Lathan statement on the Derek Chauvin verdict:
“Like many across the country, HISD students and staff have been closely following the trial in the death of Jack Yates alum George Floyd. As educators, we have created a place for our students to feel safe, included, and cared for as they navigate their thoughts and feelings around Mr. Floyd’s tragic death. Our social and emotional learning department, as well as school counselors, will be available to provide ongoing support to students during this emotional time.”
“On this day, we say his name: George Floyd. His face is seared into our memory, and his final words have pierced our hearts. His image is emblazoned on murals from all over the world to Jack Yates High School, his alma mater. An HISD alum awakened not only the moral consciousness of a nation, but the world. That is George Floyd’s legacy – and now a part of HISD’s history. But our future can be different by shifting the dialogue on social justice in our country. As the Interim Superintendent of Houston ISD, I take that responsibility very seriously and strive to achieve educational equity in our communities. I firmly believe students will take the lessons they learn in our classrooms and build a better future for all of us.”
Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee’s Statement on the Guilty Verdict in the Trial for Derek Chauvin:
“I must admit that like many other Black Americans, after decades of seeing cases like George Floyd’s murder end without accountability or justice, I expected history to repeat itself, and for Derek Chauvin to escape justice.
The jury finding Chauvin guilty on all three counts marks progress, but we must keep fighting until we are no longer shocked to see a jury convict someone who murdered a person on video for the world to see. The problem is systemic, and the solution will require convictions like today’s becoming the norm, not the exception.”
Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher Statement on Derek Chauvin Trial Verdict:
“Today’s verdict convicting Derek Chauvin of murder is an important step for justice, after a year in which we have seen so many failures of justice. While the jury’s verdict will not bring George Floyd back to life, I hope today’s conviction will ease some of the pain for his family and for all Americans, and bring a sense that justice is possible.
“We have much work to do to ensure justice for all Americans. Justice and progress require constant engagement and real commitment to doing the work we must do to improve our laws, our law enforcement, and to confront our country’s history and the systems around us that perpetuate inequality and injustice, especially in communities of color. This work can and must be done, and now is the time to do it.”
Judge Lina Hidalgo’s statement on the Derek Chauvin verdict:
As George Floyd’s hometown, the people of Harris County continue to feel his loss deep in our hearts. His family, his neighbors, his classmates, his community, will never forget his death and what it represents.— Lina Hidalgo (@LinaHidalgoTX) April 20, 2021
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez statement on the Derek Chauvin verdict:
Today’s verdict may not undo generations of unequal treatment under our nation’s legal system. But it does show we are making real progress toward a system that everyone can trust to produce real justice.— Ed Gonzalez (@SheriffEd_HCSO) April 20, 2021
Trae Tha Truth reaction to the Derek Chauvin verdict:
From Minneapolis, Houston native Trae Tha Truth whose been vocal about the case since Floyd’s death, spoke to KPRC 2 about why he had to be there for the verdict.
“George was my homeboy, you know. I’m very close with his family. He’s a Houstonian, so I had to make sure I’m there to represent,” Truth said.