Groups, representatives across Florida react to Derek Chauvin verdict

Groups, representatives across Florida react to Derek Chauvin verdict
Derek Chauvin in court hearing the judge read the jury's verdict

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - As news spread about the verdict in the case of Derek Chauvin, those around the Suncoast and the Sunshine State voiced their opinions.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of killing George Floyd. A video shows Chauvin kneeling on the neck of Floyd during his arrest last May. After that, protests broke out across the nation.

From Downtown Sarasota to the streets of Newtown and all around the Suncoast, many people say they are happy justice has been served.

Pastor Patrick Miller of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Sarasota says he’s happy to see the right decision was finally made in a case like this.

ABC7 reporter Rick Adams took to the streets and could not find a single person upset with the verdict. And although this was a victory, many in the African American community say there’s still a long way to go.

Now to other reactions along the Suncoast and across the Sunshine State:

North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison posted the following statement on Twitter:

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister posted the following statement on Twitter:

Rick Kriseman, the mayor of St. Petersburg, released the following on Twitter:

University of South Florida President Steven Currall released the following message to the community:

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Florida, released the following statement on Tuesday:

“Today, the family and loved ones of George Floyd are in my thoughts as our nation witnesses justice finally being served for the tragic and all too familiar murder of an unarmed Black man. Derek Chauvin broke his promise to serve and protect the people of Minneapolis and for his actions, he has been held accountable. Our nation now has one less bad cop out on the street, and while I join millions of Americans in breathing a sigh of relief, there is still so much more we must do. I know this legal victory does not fill the void left behind by the loss of George, but I pray the Floyd family find lasting peace and comfort in this verdict and are inspired by the path of justice and equality George’s death has propelled our nation to take. We will and must continue to work toward a better, more just and equal tomorrow - where the color of our skin does not determine whether we get to live or die. I pray for the Floyd family, I pray for Minneapolis, and I pray for our nation. Justice has been served. May George Floyd rest in peace.”

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor posted the following on Twitter:

NAACP Florida State Conference President Adora Obi Nweze released the following statement on Tuesday:

“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 11 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.”

We also heard from national leaders on Tuesday, including President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Attorney Ben Crump also posted a video of Biden and Harris calling the Floyd family after the verdict.

We also heard from former President Barack Obama.

The American Civil Liberties Union also released a statement. You can read that full statement below:

“Today, a jury has found former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all charges in the murder of George Floyd.

While this verdict is a small gain for police accountability and may help provide some semblance of justice to a grieving community, the systems that allowed a police officer to take Mr. Floyd’s life remain fully intact. Because of those racist systems, George Floyd will never make his way home to play games with his daughter, Gianna. He’ll never go on walks through the park with his beloved fiancee, Courteney, or play basketball with his brother, Philonise.

That is why we cannot stop here. Mr. Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis Police is evidence of the disparate treatment, over-policing, abuse of power, and excessive force that communities of color too often experience from law enforcement. And if we are ever to end this violence, we must re-examine approaches to public safety entirely - and work actively to reduce the role, scale, power, and funding of the police.

That includes pushing for alternatives to having police officers as the first, last, and only resort to keeping our communities safe. Broken-windows-style policing that targets Black communities over low-level offenses resulted in Mr. Floyd’s death - and in the majority of police killings in America. You can take action on this issue right now by urging the Biden administration to support and issue guidance on common-sense, community-based, and civilian-led solutions nationwide.

Of course, this alone is not the only measure we must achieve to secure safety in our communities. The work ahead - work which Black activists, organizers, and groups have been leading for decades - will and must continue far past this moment.

Because what is for certain... is that Mr. Floyd should not have died under an officer’s knee - he should still be alive today. So should Daunte Wright, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black people killed by police.

Honoring their lives and the countless other Black lives violently taken at the hands of police means none of us can allow this verdict to make us complacent.

We must renew our conviction to create a world where police do not have the opportunity to use violence and harassment against Black people – as they have since their inception as slave patrols. We must fight for a world where we massively divest from police as an institution, including implementing proven alternatives to police in low-level enforcement - and reinvest in the communities that desperately want more for the legacies of their fallen.

Together, we can make that world a reality – if we keep pushing for it. We’ll be in touch soon on this critical work and in the meantime, please take care.”

This while the ACLU of Florida posted this to Twitter:

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