Floridians, lawmakers and others react to the Chauvin guilty verdict

Derek Chauvin
Posted at 6:30 PM, Apr 20, 2021

Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of all charges Tuesday, April 20. Floridians took to social media and the streets to voice their opinions.

The jury deliberated just 10 hours across 2 days, the verdict was unanimous.

President Biden and Harris addressed the nation after the verdict.

State leaders, lawmakers, activists, and others have released statements following the verdict.


“Our hearts go out to the family of George Floyd. Finally, justice prevailed! What we've all witnessed during this trial has confirmed what we saw in the video. Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. We know the jury deliberated for nearly eleven hours and we commend them for their courage. The NAACP Florida State Conference hopes this begins true healing as we will not rest and will continue our efforts to ensure the deaths of George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, and countless others are not in vain but move us toward true and unadulterated justice for our community. While we applaud today’s verdict, this will not provide justice for all victims of police misuse of force and we must recognize that police reform remains a major objective of the NAACP,” says Adora Obi Nweze, President of NAACP Florida State Conference and member of the National Board of Directors.

“The emotion, as a young Black man in this country, to have justice prevail in the Chauvin murder trial that has captivated the world’s attention is indescribable. While millions of people breathe a sigh of relief for this accountability, there is still so much work to be done. What’s clear is that it is long past time to address systemic racism in this country and I will continue to push for real reforms so that everyone can live safely without fear of harassment, discrimination, or being killed. I continue to pray for the Floyd family and others across the country who’ve suffered immense, unnecessary loss due to nothing more than the color of their skin.”- State Senator Shevrin Jones (D-Miami Gardens)

Today, justice was served. Derek Chauvin broke the law, and now, he is being held accountable for his actions. I believe the jury made the right decision based on the evidence presented. It’s important to remember that the few do not represent the many and that there are far more positive things local law enforcement officers do for our communities than negative. I am incredibly grateful for the law enforcement officers who protect and serve our communities. That said, those who break the law must be held accountable. I am praying for the city of Minneapolis and their police department, as well as George Floyd’s family. Additionally, I pray for our country to heal in the days ahead.”- Congressman Neal Dunn, M.D. (Florida-02)

“Why was I holding my breath and praying when the facts and evidence were clear? Although justice was served today, the next time I will still sit holding my breath and praying until systemic racism is eradicated from society. Derek Chauvin killed a Black man on the street in broad daylight in front of a crowd of people. He did so slowly, intentionally, and with absolutely no regard for the man trapped beneath his knee. George Floyd should be alive today. He should be with his daughter, his family, and his friends. No judge or jury can change that. Today, the halls of justice said his name, “George Floyd,” but there are many others and we must continue to say their names and see their faces because Black Lives Matter.”- Florida House Democratic Leader Bobby DuBose (D- Fort Lauderdale)

"Today, a jury in Minneapolis did the right thing. For almost a year, George Floyd’s death under the knee of a police officer has reverberated around the world — inspiring murals and marches, sparking conversations in living rooms and new legislation. But a more basic question has always remained: would justice be done? In this case, at least, we have our answer. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, we know that true justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial. True justice requires that we come to terms with the fact that Black Americans are treated differently, every day. It requires us to recognize that millions of our friends, family, and fellow citizens live in fear that their next encounter with law enforcement could be their last. And it requires us to do the sometimes thankless, often difficult, but always necessary work of making the America we know more like the America we believe in. While today’s verdict may have been a necessary step on the road to progress, it was far from a sufficient one. We cannot rest. We will need to follow through with the concrete reforms that will reduce and ultimately eliminate racial bias in our criminal justice system. We will need to redouble efforts to expand economic opportunity for those communities that have been too long marginalized. And as we continue the fight, we can draw strength from the millions of people — especially young people — who have marched and protested and spoken up over the last year, shining a light on inequity and calling for change. Justice is closer today not simply because of this verdict, but because of their work. Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, in the hopes that they may find peace. And we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied." -Statement from President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama on the Trial of Derek Chauvin

“Today, our criminal justice system got it right. Those who abuse their power and commit criminal acts must be held accountable. The whole world watched that tragic 9 minute and 29-second video as the air left George Floyd’s body. He didn’t deserve to die. He was a son, a father, a brother and he reignited a movement. This trial has reopened deep wounds, and now our community must go through a period of healing. The guilty verdict was a victory for his family, for all those who peacefully marched in the streets, and for those who have lost loved ones to senseless violence.
“It has been a very difficult year for many of us across this nation. How many more videos do we have to watch before we see change? We rely on our system to protect us all – and there is no room for racial bias. We need to set a new standard in policing. The Senate must pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.”- U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (FL-05)

“Judgement has been rendered, and justice has been served. The death of George Floyd laid bare the disparate treatment at the hands of law enforcement many in the minority community throughout our country have sounded the alarm over, cried over, and protested over for years. With the conviction of Derek Chauvin today, those voices were finally heard.
“It is my hope that those who would offer crackdowns on peaceful protestors instead of examining the reasons for those protests, heed the lessons contained in that judgement of guilt. Police officers are just as human as the rest of us. There are good officers and, unfortunately, a few bad ones among them. Silencing the outcries for justice when an officer goes rogue serves no one, and heightens the distrust between those in blue and those they have pledged to serve and protect.
“George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, when asked about waiting for the verdict to come in, responded: ‘We have faith. We’re going to get through this. After we get the verdict and we get this conviction, we’ll be able to breathe.’
“To George Floyd’s brother, his many supporters, and the millions of people here and around the world who marched in solidarity to demand accountability for this murder, justice has finally been delivered. It is time to take that breath.”- State Senator Perry Thurston (D-Ft. Lauderdale)

Natasha Pierre, the executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Health says it's important to acknowledge that the video of George Floyd saying he couldn't breath can be traumatic to watch.

"When we watch death over and over and violence, it does something to us emotionally and mentally," Pierre said. "There's enough studies that evidence the link between viewing violence and death and apathy and increase aggression. And I think, you know, having any child watch that footage and any other acts of violence and death is really injurious."

NAMI Hillsborough has free resources to deal with increased stress, anxiety and depression. Visit their website here or call 813-368-0813.