George Floyd

Atlanta and state officials are reacting to former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin being found guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter after he knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes even as he told the officer he couldn’t breathe.

Here are some of the statements we’ve received on the jury verdict:

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
“While I am grateful that the verdict is guilty on all three counts, there is no verdict or punishment that will bring George Floyd back to his family. As tragedies have propelled our nation into a level of needed consciousness and action in the past, it is my sincere hope that the tragic death of George Floyd will forever be our reminder that the work towards reform, healing and reconciliation is not a one time event. We must continue this work if we ever hope to truly be one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”

Atlanta City Council Joint Statement
“Today’s verdict brings some measure of accountability for the tragic murder of George Floyd, and his family and loved ones are in our prayers tonight. Our collective efforts to bend the moral arc of the universe in the face of systemic injustices must continue each and every day. The work of building an Atlanta and an America of ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ is far from finished. But we will get there – together. We deeply appreciate the jury that listened to all relevant testimony, and in accordance with the law, rendered the verdict that they did.”

District 3 Councilmember Antonio Brown
“Today begins the required change of a criminal justice system that has failed Black people for far too long. Thank you to the jury who stood on the right side of justice – making history! I am hopeful this is a turning point in accountability for police officers,” Brown said.

Bernice King, CEO of The King Center
Today, a jury of 12 found Derek Chauvin guilty of Second-Degree Murder, Third-Degree Murder and Second-Degree Manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. Only in America can a Black person be callously murdered on video for the world to see, then be vilified, dehumanized, and faulted for his own murder. Although Chauvin was found guilty, this nation still faces an arduous journey toward implementing the demands of justice. Our hearts go out to George Floyd’s family and to the families and communities across this nation who have been violated by an institution designated by badges to “protect and serve.” As with other institutions and systems in this nation, law enforcement’s practices and policies so often dehumanize and perpetuate destruction of Black and brown lives. We recognize that there are many facets to ending systemic and overt racism, including in the criminal justice system. “Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream,” we will immerse ourselves in the work of love-centered, strategic, nonviolent deconstruction of injustice and construction of public safety that engages all human beings with dignity, equity and compassion. We still believe this is not only possible, but that we can, as Dr. King said, “organize our strength into compelling power so that the government [and other power constructs] cannot elude our demands.”

Andrea Young, Executive Director of ACLU of Georgia
“Across the state of Georgia people stood up and demanded justice for George Floyd. This verdict is an affirmation that democracy can be made to work.  The impact of Mr. Floyd will be felt across our state in the new elected officials who were inspired to run on platforms of police and criminal justice system reform and the voters who marched from the streets to the voting booth and supported policy reform.”

Fulton County Commissioner Khadijah Abdur-Rahman
“Today, America is on the right side of history with the jury in Minneapolis finding Derek Chauvin guilty on all three counts: two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter. This decision of the jury shows that in America when we hear all the evidence, see all the evidence and examine it with an open and fair mind, justice can be found in America. While today’s verdict is a reason to have some joy, we must be vigilant in understanding that today is just the start of America beginning to regain its soul. How future cases pan out will determine whether redemption is fully realized. There must be no more George Floyd cases; no more Daunte Wrights, who was the 20-year-old Black man (who possessed no weapon) fatally shot by a police officer during a traffic stop just 10 minutes from the courthouse of the Chauvin trial as it was underway. All of us must do all we can to end this trend of senseless murder and death, which will lead our country on a path to internal destruction if it does not stop. I stand with all those who demand justice, peace and freedom. But we must understand that you cannot have one without the other two components. There will be no peace, without freedom, and there is no freedom without justice.”

Dist. 5 Congresswoman Nikema Williams
“Today’s guilty verdict is a pivotal moment for policing in America. The conviction of Derek Chauvin sends the message that we can and will hold officers accountable. But, it’s important to note this is only the beginning. This one case, this instance of justice, is what is deserved and overdue for so many other families. “Although nothing can bring George Floyd back, my hope is that his family can find some solace in knowing that justice was served. “We are done dying.”

Sen. Raphael Warnock
“First and foremost, I’m thinking about George Floyd’s children and his family, and I’m thankful that they received something that approaches justice today after the trauma they’ve endured—one we’ve seen visited upon Black people and communities of color time and time again, and that never becomes less painful. Today’s verdict affirming Derek Chauvin’s responsibility for killing George Floyd is the right outcome in this trial, but it is not justice for George Floyd, who should still be here with us, nor for his family and community, who have suffered an immeasurable loss. We know that there cannot be healing without justice, and likewise, we still have much work to do in the Senate not only to create true justice that prevents more senseless killings of Black people, but to push our system closer to our ideals of equal protection under the law. That’s why reforming policing on the federal level is so imperative, and why Congress must pass legislation like the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act that will help end this cycle of violence and bend the moral arc of the universe closer to justice. As a voice for Georgians in the Senate, and as a Black man, I hope today’s verdict is the beginning of a turning point in our country where people who have seen this trauma over and over again will know it is possible to have equal protection under the law. And in the meantime, I’m going to continue pushing with everything I can to make sure our federal government honors people’s humanity and recognizes their citizenship—whether it’s at the polls, or during their interactions with police.”

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.