State’s political leaders praise jury decision, but say more work needs to be done

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Delaware’s Political leaders praised the guilty verdict in trial of former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd, but added that more needs to be done to reform the criminal justice system and deal with systemic racism.

Tom Carper, U.S. Senator

“Today, justice was served – for George Floyd, for his loved ones and for the American people. Almost a year ago, then-Officer Chauvin knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, ignoring his cries for help as life slowly and painfully left his body.

“Americans from all walks of life – rural and urban, Republicans and Democrats – then came together last summer to march against this wrongful death and the disproportionate infliction of lethal force against unarmed African Americans. For many, it was a temporary season of unrest. But for Black and brown Americans, this kind of fear and distrust is a permanent reality.

“Some of the worst vestiges of our country’s past are all too present today in how some in law enforcement treat communities of color, and as leaders there is much work left to build trust between these groups. Today’s verdict does not repair that relationship, but it is a step – an important step – in the right direction towards accountability, fairness and equal justice. But let me be clear, it cannot be the last step.”

Chris Coons, U.S. Senator

“Today’s conviction brings accountability and I hope it brings some semblance of peace for George Floyd’s family who has endured an unimaginable loss. However, this verdict doesn’t changethe fact that we have necessary workto do to reform policing, build trust, and ensure justice. I am committed to working with my colleagues towardthe kinds ofreforms that will ensure our nation lives up to its promiseof equal justice for all.”

Lisa Blunt Rochester, U.S. House

“While no verdict will return George Floyd to his family and loved ones, today we can say, there is accountabilityThose shocking and painful images of Mr. Floyd forced us to hold up a mirror to ourselves and to our country. We have and we must be forever changed. And while today’s verdict represents accountability delivered in this case – it is now incumbent upon all of us on the federal level to build a more fair and equitable justice system by passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in his memory. Our work is far from over, but make no mistake – today was a step in our long march toward justice.”

John Carney, Governor

The guilty verdict in Minneapolis brings an important measure of justice for George Floyd, for his family and friends, and for so many Americans who were deeply affected by this case. Mr. Floyd’s killing opened deep wounds around racial injustice and policing. In the months since his killing, I’ve heard that pain and anger in the voices of so many Delawareans. My hope is this verdict helps us move forward productively – in good faith – to improve relationships between law enforcement and communities of color. And to seriously address the root causes of racial injustice that persist in our state and country.

Kathy Jennings, Delaware Attorney Jennings

“Justice prevailed today, and I applaud the prosecutors and jurors who made it possible. George Floyd’smurdererhas been held accountable; but our work is not done.”

“Last spring, I announced 15 police reform priorities, including the reform of Delaware’s use of force statute, the statewide use of body cameras, mandatory participation in a do-not-hire list, and more robust civil rights protections, among others. I realize that some of these proposals are contentious and that none are easy; but I’m grateful to say that several of these policies have been supported — and in some cases outright championed — by legislators, the Governor, and Delaware’s police chiefs. I appreciate the value of deliberation and discussion; but I also agree with advocates who have reminded us that reform is no less urgent today than it was ten months ago.”

I’m heartened by what this General Assembly, including its newest members, has proven it is willing and able to do. There is no reason that police reform should not be among this year’s many accomplishments.

My heart is with George Floyd’s loved ones and a long-suffering community. Today we should not only honor his memory, but recommit ourselves to his legacy.

Matt Meyer, New Castle County Executive

“Eleven months ago Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. We recognize today’s verdict as a small step forward in holding police accountable to all communities, holding governments like your New Castle County government accountable to you, our residents. It is a step forward for us all to recognize that no one is above the law, to declare that black lives matter.

We hope that Mr. Floyd’s sudden death will one day be seen as the time when we once and for all turned away from our racism of yesterday and into a future that is more inclusive, more equal and more just than ever before.”

House Democratic Leaders

House Speaker, Pete SchwartzkopfMajority Leader Rep. Valerie Maglio Longhurst;
and Majority Whip Rep. Larry Mitchellissued the following statement on the verdict:
“We are relieved and thankful that justice was served by today’s verdict in Minneapolis. But, we recognize that the pain, the trauma, the sorrow, and the anger that the death of George Floyd brought to so many across our state and the nation is far from faded.
“Here, in light of this verdict, we must recommit ourselves to the principal of equality under the law for every Delawarean. We must continue to engage in challenging conversations about the future of criminal justice in our state. And, we must work together to support and advance the efforts we and our colleagues have undertaken to bring down structural barriers to equality wherever they exist.”
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