PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Leaders and lawmakers from around the Pacific Northwest began to pour out reactions to the news of Derek Chauvin being found guilty on all charges pertaining to the killing of George Floyd.
The former Minneapolis police officer was convicted of murder and manslaughter Tuesday in a case that triggered worldwide protests, violence and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S.
Chauvin, 45, could be sent to prison for decades.
“George Floyd’s life mattered. His death, at the hands of Derek Chauvin, shook our nation to its core. My thoughts are with his family today. … “Today’s verdict is one step towards that goal. But it is only a single step toward police accountability. It is also a reminder of how much work we have left to do. We will dismantle the structures of racism and inequality in this country just as they were built, brick by brick.” — Oregon Governor Kate Brown
“Today is a day for all to recommit themselves to a more perfect union, in their communities and in our nation. Let this be the beginning of progress rather than the end of one trial. Today’s sense of relief for some is fleeting. They know more must be done to prevent this from happening again and again. Too many live with this uncertainty. We must end systemic racism.” — Washington Governor Jay Inslee
“Today was an important step in an ongoing struggle for racial justice. #DerekChauvinTrial“
— US Representative Earl Blumenauer
“George Floyd’s murder is a tragedy and a painful chapter in our country’s history of systemic racism. His family and his community in Minneapolis have experienced heartbreaking anguish. They deserve accountability, and I wish them peace and healing.”
— US Representative Suzanne Bonamici
“I am relieved that justice has been served and that the jurors in Derek Chauvin’s trial, faced with indisputable evidence, found him guilty of all charges. Chauvin’s senseless murder of George Floyd last summer sparked a sea change. His death shed light on the legacy of police brutality and racial hate entrenched in American society and committed millions of Americans to the righteous cause of ending systemic racism. — US Representative Peter DeFazio
“Real justice would be George Floyd being alive today. Today’s verdict is only one step in the march to justice. That destination will be reached only when accountability like today’s verdict becomes the rule of law.” — US Sen. Ron Wyden
“Thank God. It’s a start. #GeorgeFloyd“
— State Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward
“Guilty. Justice served.”
— State Rep. Christine Drazan
“Let this moment of accountability be a turning point in our history, towards a future where it’s not a surprise when murderers of BIPOC people are held responsible. It’s on all of us to continue the work to dismantle structural racism. #BlackLivesMatter#JusticeForGeorgeFloyd“
— State Rep. Karin Power
The Oregon House Democrats released a lengthy statement.
“Derek Chauvin was rightfully declared guilty for the murder of George Floyd,” and that the verdict was “an encouraging waypoint on the long road to justice and equity.” Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler
“The significance of this verdict cannot be overstated,” he said. “This trial was vastly more than just a police officer on trial for the murder of a man. It was about humanity and sanctity of Black life. It proved excessive force is a weapon. Although this verdict delivered justice in one case, it will not, by itself, transform the criminal justice system that took the life of George Floyd. We must resist the urge to turn to other matters – this struggle is not over. The verdict will not, by itself, protect the next George Floyd. Now, we must take what we know—what we’ve learned from this trial—and find the strength to bring about transformative change in institutions across our country, and to heal and reestablish trust. This moment must serve to remind us of the tremendous gulf between where we are and where we truly must be.” — Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt
“What happened to George Floyd happens here in Portland,” Hardesty said. “I believe that we are all ready for change, and to really start that process our community needs the opportunity to heal locally. To do that, we must start with PPB admitting to the harm it has caused throughout history in our City, especially to BIPOC and houseless communities. We need to see accountability for their misconduct, including the many incidents of police brutality we witnessed last summer when thousands of Portlanders took to the streets to declare Black Lives Matter. We need a commitment, through policy change, that these incidents won’t continue to happen.” — Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty
“Today’s verdict was one that the community expected and called for, but George Floyd’s life is still lost.” She added “We all must begin to have these conversations with our friends, families and communities, even when it is hard. We are either productive, or counterproductive: there is no neutrality. We cannot work to dismantle structural barriers to racial justice and racial equity if we are unable to work through discomfort, face the truths of our history and present-day actions, and make changes to recognize these truths and value our communities.” — Commissioner Carmen Rubio
“As the Board of Commissioners, we honor the strength of Black communities, the centuries of injustices they have endured, and the leadership that so many have demonstrated as our community and our nation collectively face the truth of what it means to be Black in America.” — Board of Multnomah County Commissioners
“While today’s verdict in the George Floyd murder trial brought legal justice to his family, bringing social justice to the Black communities across our nation will require continued acknowledgment of systemic racism, further work in policing reforms and establishing equity in our schools, workplaces and communities. The verdict may signal that our nation has turned a corner, but it is only a symbolic one. True change can only come with sustained efforts to transform our communities as safe places for all residents of all races. The City of Vancouver stands in support of our Black community members and BIPOC communities across the nation. Our roadmap is clear, and it is focused on equity, inclusion, safety and prosperity for all.” — Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle
Chauvin, was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, all of which require the jury to conclude that his actions were a “substantial causal factor” in Floyd’s death and that his use of force was unreasonable.