PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia and North Carolina officials are reacting after a jury found former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin guilty of all counts in the murder of George Floyd.
Chauvin was charged with unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the May 25 death. He was found guilty on all charges.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was declared dead after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against his neck for about nine minutes. Floyd’s death sparked protests and civil unrest in Minneapolis and across the U.S. over police brutality, at points turning violent.
Several Virginia and North Carolina officials reacted to the verdict Tuesday.
Gov. Ralph Northam called the verdict a step toward accountability for police.
“I pray that today brings some small comfort to the family of George Floyd and all who loved him. May we honor his legacy by continuing on this march towards justice and meaningful change. We have a lot of work ahead.”
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper commended the jury for their work while advocating for positive change moving forward.
Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Tuesday’s verdict delivered accountability, however, “this racist, broken system remains intact.”
“The time to act is now. We need reform before even one more Black or Brown life it taken,” said McAuliffe.
Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax released a statement as well.
“Today, a jury’s verdict delivered a powerful statement of accountability to Derek Chauvin, a long overdue measure of justice to George Floyd and his family and a message of hope to our nation and world.
“George Floyd should be alive. We all watched as he was brutally murdered with a knee on his neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds — a cruel reminder of the pervasive racial injustice and police brutality that threaten Black and Brown communities every day.
“We pray for comfort and peace for the Floyd Family. And, we honor George Floyd’s life by fighting to defeat racial injustice.”
Senator and gubernatorial candidate Jennifer McClellan said Floyd’s murder “must remain a clarion call for continuing police and justice reform.”
Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy said that citizens will never get “true, full justice” for Floyd until action has been taken to change the system that took his life and impacts countless other Black Americans.
Congressman Bobby Scott said that although nothing will George Floyd back, the verdict was just.
“Derek Chauvin was afforded the due process that George Floyd was denied and found guilty by a jury of his peers, ” said Scott.
Virginia Attorney general Mark Herring said the verdict will provide “measure of justice and accountability for a heatless and senseless murder.”
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine called for reform stating that “one correct verdict does not negate the profound injustice that persists every day.”
Congresswoman Elaine Luria said she hopes the verdict brings the Floyd family peace, however, Luria said there are still a lot of families seeking justice for their lost loved ones.
Virginia House Democratic Majority Leader Charniele Herring and House Democratic Caucus Chair Rip Sullivan said while justice has been served, there is still a long road ahead to eliminate inequality and injustice.
“Floyd’s death reawakened our communities to the need for urgent, effective reforms to ensure greater accountability for wrongdoing by those in uniform,” said Herring and Sullivan in a joint statement.
“Each person deserves to be treated with the same level of respect by police—regardless of race, ethnicity, or background—while also knowing that law enforcement cares about them and their community.”
Several other Virginia leaders voiced their reactions on social media.
William & Mary Police Chief Deb Cheesebro released a statement Tuesday night on the verdict.
“When Mr. Floyd died at the hands of the police, I posted a message to the community expressing my outrage at the conduct of the officer involved, Derek Chauvin. Today, the jury made the right decision – guilty on all 3 counts. We called it murder at the time it happened and the jury affirmed this in our judicial system for us today. There is no question that he acted as a criminal in causing the death of George Floyd. What we saw here was not policing, it was murder. My prayers for Mr. Floyd’s family.
“I recommit to our community that W&M Police will act in a manner consistent with our values of integrity, fair and impartial policing, professionalism and community engagement. I will continue to look for ways to increase communications and connectivity with our community. We are about your safety. We are about keeping the peace. If you have any questions about W&M Police please contact me at 757-221-4596.”