Colorado leaders react to guilty verdict in the George Floyd murder case

State

A video screen is seen as the jury afirms a guilty verdict at the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Minneapolis, Minn. Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of Floyd. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

COLORADO — State and local officials in Colorado have released statements following the jury’s vote to convict former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin of the murder of George Floyd on Tuesday.

Chauvin, 45, was charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. 

Governor Jared Polis

Governor Jared Polis released the following statement on the conviction of former Minnesota Police Officer Derek Chauvin:

“Less than a year ago, the world watched in horror as George Floyd’s life was taken from him. In the days and weeks following his tragic murder, millions of Americans took to the streets to make their voices heard, saying enough is enough. Today, we see a glimmer of hope, a glimpse of justice, but we know we are nowhere near the end of this road. This verdict does not bring back George Floyd. True justice would mean having him here with us today. Let us acknowledge this victory and use this inflection point to bend the arc of social equality toward lasting justice so this doesn’t happen again. My heart goes out to the family of George Floyd, who have been forced to relive this tragedy far too many times, and to the families of countless other Black Americans who have been forced to say goodbye too soon.”

House Leaders React to Chauvin Verdict

Speaker Alec Garnett, Black Democratic Legislative Caucus Chair Leslie Herod, and Majority Leader Daneya Esgar released the following statements after a jury found Derek Chauvin guilty on all three counts:

“Today George Floyd’s family, the Black community, and the nation as a whole were offered an important measure of closure as a jury found Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts of murdering George Floyd,” said Speaker Alec Garnett, D-Denver. “This is the right verdict – the only viable outcome of such a tragic and heartless injustice. Colorado has led the way on police accountability and integrity, and we still have work to do to ensure justice for every community in our state.”

“This verdict represents accountability. It is not justice. True justice would mean George Floyd was still with us today,” said Black Caucus Chair Leslie Herod, D-Denver. “That he could hold his loved ones and that the world never had to learn his name. True justice will come when we don’t have to hesitate every time we turn on the news in case another video of state sanctioned murder should flash upon our screen. I am  Today, we stand together and say ‘no more’. We will bring change. We will advance justice. And we will not rest until we end the police brutality that is taking innocent Black and Brown lives in our communities and across our country.”

“Last year, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Colorado led the nation in passing a bold, sweeping police accountability bill that moved us closer to  justice in our communities,” said Representative Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo. “Today, as we breathe a collective sigh of relief after the guilty verdict, we recommit ourselves to continuing to advance the cause of justice. We know that we have a great deal of work left to do, and I’m committed to ensuring that Colorado continues to lead the way.”

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet

“No jury’s decision can return George Floyd to the safety of his family’s arms. No single verdict can demolish the structural racism that still plagues our country. But today, the jury reached the right conclusion. Tomorrow, we have to continue the work to ensure that every American, no matter their race, can live in safety with equal protection under the law. The Senate should pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.”

Attorney General Phil Weiser

“Today’s verdict in the George Floyd murder case represents our justice system working effectively with a jury considering the evidence and performing its duty. But it is not the end. We must continue each day to pursue justice for all and build trust between communities and law enforcement. While nothing can bring George Floyd back to his family, today’s verdict shows that we can hold bad actors accountable when they violate the law, move forward together as a nation, and deliver justice for all. Today is a somber day. This is not an end but a beginning. The work must continue to build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve and to hold accountable those who break that trust. With today’s verdict, I am encouraged we can do just that.”

Colorado Education Association

The following statement can be attributed to Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and president of the Colorado Education Association:  

“While we feel some sense of relief that Derek Chauvin is being held accountable for the murder of George Floyd, we know that the systemically racist system under which we live still denies justice for far too many Black and Brown men, women, and children who have been killed or had their lives forever harmed by police brutality. Until we see the end of unnecessary police violence against Black and Brown lives, and live in a system where Black lives truly matter, we must take action to fundamentally change our society so that equal justice under the law is truly equal justice under the law and doesn’t just apply to just one skin tone. 

“The accountability of one police officer does not equal the accountability to an entire system. It took one brave person with a camera and millions of brave people marching in the streets to hold Derek Chauvin accountable. We must now collectively speak up for all of us, no matter our skin color, or the zip code in which we live, or the amount of money in our pockets. We must speak up and take on the structural, institutional racism and inequities that have been built into the fabric of our country. We will work with our local associations and allies for however long it takes to ensure this happens.”

Colorado U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper

“Today’s verdict was clear. While we welcome this verdict, let’s remember that no sentence will ever bring George Floyd back to his family. No sentence can erase the trauma that his family has endured. Black Americans deserve a world in which their lives aren’t threatened by the very people sworn to protect them. We must reform a broken system that continues to allow these tragedies to happen.”

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