'Justice was served.' Local leaders react to Derek Chauvin guilty verdict

Posted at 5:33 PM, Apr 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-20 21:13:12-04

(WXYZ) — Leaders in metro Detroit and Michigan are reacting to the guilty verdict for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of killing George Floyd.

Related: Derek Chauvin found guilty of all charges in murder of George Floyd

A jury found Chauvin guilty on all counts. Read the statements below.

Related: Social media reacts to guilty verdict in Chauvin trial

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
“For George Floyd and his family, justice. For the rest of us, a reminder to continue pushing for justice in every corner of our society. My heart is with George Floyd’s family, and I want them to know that millions of Michiganders, Minnesotans, and Americans mourn with them. No verdict can bring George back, but his legacy will live on. Last year, millions of people around the world spoke with a collective voice when we said Black Lives Matter. Together, we will continue tackling the deep-rooted, structural racism and inequity present in our institutions and faced by Black Americans every day. Our work is just getting started. I think George’s daughter Gianna Floyd said it best, “Daddy changed the world.”

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist
"Today, justice was served for George Floyd and his family. As a Black man in America, I have felt the sting of racism and injustice personally, and too many of our brothers and sisters know the visceral pain and exhaustion that communities of color face every day.

That is why we must honor George Floyd’s legacy and the legacy of countless others as we advance justice and tackle inequities through our words and deeds. We have to address the pain that so many individuals are feeling with purpose as we work towards restoring the respect that all individuals of color deserve. When we do that, we can ensure that everyone makes it home to their loved ones at the end of the day.

We have to address the pain that so many individuals are feeling with purpose as we work towards restoring the respect that all individuals of color deserve. When we do that, we can ensure that everyone makes it home to their loved ones at the end of the day.

This verdict is a good outcome, and it was made possible by the community organizers, faith leaders, and law enforcement officers, who had the courage to make their voices heard, but the work is not done. We must continue to press for policies that protect and expand access to justice and opportunity."

Detroit Police Chief James Craig
"The one thing I can say is the justice system worked," Craig said, adding that he was one of the first police chiefs across the nation to make a strong public comment about the incident.

"It's still a stain on our profession," Craig said. "We had to deal with weeks and months of, at times, violent protests but at the end of the day, the right thing was done."

Detroit Police Chief James Craig reacts after guilty verdict in Derek Chauvin trial

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan
"The criminal justice system doesn't always work, but it worked today for the family of George Floyd.

I was proud of Chief James Craig last May when he became the first big city police chief to call the death of Mr. Floyd what it was: murder.

Now a year later, today’s verdict sent a message that this country, including many police officials who testified at the trial, will not tolerate the type of treatment that Blacks and other people of color too often receive from police in too many cities."

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans
"The conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd is, I hope, a turning point for our country and for policing in our country. As both a career law enforcement officer and a Black man, the video of the killing of George Floyd was difficult to watch. It was even more painful to witness people claim that what we all saw didn’t really happen. The jury today made clear with this verdict that this was exactly what we knew it was.

George Floyd was murdered. George Floyd did not deserve to die that day. George Floyd did not deserve to be treated with violence and disrespect by officers whose job it is to serve—not occupy—our communities.

Too often and for too long, People of Color, especially Black men, have been expected to accept police violence as a part of life. This verdict makes clear that police violence is not acceptable. It makes clear that Black lives do matter. Let us build on this moment of justice delivered toward a fairer, more equitable society for all."

Detroit Will Breathe

Rep. Brenda Lawrence
“There’s no amount of time that could’ve prepared us for the verdict of this trial. The only thing was left leading up to it is your thoughts and the growing pit in your stomach. When I heard the news of the guilty verdict, I was relieved. This is one small step toward accountability. But make no mistake, George Floyd should still be alive today. That is justice. But I hope the verdict brings some measure of peace to George Floyd’s family, and I continue to pray for them as they deal with the pain and trauma of losing their loved one.

“We still have so much work to do to fix a system that has denied accountability and justice for Black Americans for far too long. Today renews a call for action. We need to make real change, and it starts with getting the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed in the Senate and signed into law. Let’s do it for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the countless other Black Americans whose lives were taken due to police violence and brutality. Black lives matter, today and always.”

State Rep. Tenisha Yancey. Chair of the Detroit Caucus, on behalf of Detroit Caucus
“I am relieved and grateful that the jury held accountable Derek Chauvin for George Floyd’s murder last summer. No one should ever have their life cruelly and unjustly take from them but especially not by a law enforcement officer whose job is to serve and protect.

“We also know that we cannot stop here; we must continue the fight to ensure that Black lives are no longer senselessly sacrificed by law enforcement. Police should not be judge, jury and executioners, and our current system not only allows but encourages them to be. We are committed to making sure that here in Michigan, it never happens again.”

Rep. Andy Levin
"So many white people in positions of power have killed Black men, Black women, Black children and gotten away with it. Could it be different this time? We saw this murder with our own eyes. There was no question. And yet, we have felt the same in other cases in the past.

Now we know. A jury of his peers has found Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts. It is such a relief that at least in this one case, on this one day, justice was served in America.

Last June, I participated in what was perhaps the biggest racial justice demonstration in Macomb County history. Estimates are that 6,000 people participated and made Hall Road an avenue to change and healing.

This verdict is another chapter in a movement that has changed the world. Today, we honor George Floyd and his family and pray that this decision brings them some semblance of peace. Tomorrow, we continue to fight police brutality, invest in our Black communities, and craft policies that, at long last, recognize that Black lives matter.”

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson
"Justice has been served. Yet our work to dismantle systemic racism, in policing and all its forms, must continue. We must eliminate the barriers that have prevented or made it more difficult for Black Michiganders, as well as marginalized people of all races, to live, work, drive and vote in our state. I will continue to work to that end."

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel
"The death of George Floyd has rightfully been recognized as murder by the jurors in the trial of Derek Chauvin. It is now the obligation of elected officials, community leaders and the law enforcement community throughout this country to recognize the need for reforms to transition from policing by force to cooperative efforts to create safer communities.

"For too long, fear and brutality have been at the heart of how some individuals in law enforcement view their roles within our communities. The result has had devastating consequences for residents, and particularly the Black community and other communities of color.

Last year, I announced seven proposals as part of a series of actions for police reform. The proposals seek to increase transparency surrounding law enforcement agencies and ensure accountability from and for law enforcement officers.

"It is time to acknowledge that there are problems with how and who we police. Multiple lives have been lost at the hands of law enforcement since the death of Mr. Floyd. This serves as a constant reminder that those in communities of color continue to be wronged by a system that has repeatedly failed to protect them.

"It is incumbent upon the leaders of our communities, our state, and our nation to effectuate change. The murder of Mr. Floyd by a man who wore the uniform of those sworn to serve and protect cannot be allowed to pass as one more unfortunate moment in our nation’s history. We cannot simply be satisfied by a guilty verdict. It must be a catalyst for change.

"I am committed to using the authority of the Department of Attorney General to reform the system to hold bad officers accountable and ensure community policing is truly a partnership between our residents and the men and women who wear a uniform and pledge to help keep them safe."

Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes
"I join millions of Americans in standing alongside George Floyd's family as we honor his life and legacy and acknowledge the historic nature of today's verdict. The trenches of systematic racism still run deep in this country though and the outcome of this trial does not mean that we are going to miraculously become a more tolerant, more generous, and more welcoming democracy. Our Black and Brown sisters and brothers are still not safe in America. We need true reform to policing before real justice, not just accountability, is served."

GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra
"While the guilty verdicts in the trial seeking justice for George Floyd are a step in the fight against bias and injustice, we must remain determined to drive meaningful, deliberate change on a broad scale. The past several weeks have been a painful and poignant reminder of the need to support reform and condemn injustice. Our thoughts are with the Floyd family as these verdicts will not replace their loss."

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy
“Over 25 years ago I successfully prosecuted two police officers for the murderous beating death of Malice Green, a Black motorist who had been pulled over on a bogus traffic stop. Both were convicted of murder. That was in 1993. Those jury verdicts were hailed at the time, but did not change the narrative that Black and Brown men were killed at an alarming rate by some bad police officers. The verdict in the murder trial of George Floyd will change the world. Accountability is the word of the day.”

Detroit Pistons Statement
“Today’s verdict establishes that George Floyd was murdered and accountability assigned. But for justice to truly be served, the real work must continue. We must continue shining a piercing light on incidents of racism, police brutality and inequitable justice that continue to disproportionately affect Black Americans and divide our country. We will continue our efforts to unite the community, support our players and staff, and use our platform to drive meaningful change. Our thoughts are still with Floyd’s family nearly a year after his life was taken. Hopefully today’s verdict will bring some peace and accelerate progress.”