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Virginia lawmakers, officials react to the Derek Chauvin verdict

‘He should still be alive today,’ Gov. Northam says of George Floyd

Leaders in Virginia react to the Derek Chauvin verdict.
Leaders in Virginia react to the Derek Chauvin verdict.

Derek Chauvin has been found guilty Tuesday evening of all three charges he faced in connection with the death of George Floyd.

The jury found Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Lawmakers and officials representing Virginia have taken to social media to share their thoughts on the verdict.

Gov. Ralph Northam

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring

“George Floyd should still be alive, and while no verdict will bring him back to his family, these verdicts provide a measure of justice and accountability for a heartless and senseless murder. The world watched as Derek Chauvin put his knee on George Floyd’s neck – ending his life as he called out for his mother. This guilty verdict will hopefully be an inflection point that forces us all to recommit to building a society in which Black lives matter and all Americans can live without fearing the police or discrimination.

To the hardworking prosecutors and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who were dedicated to getting this justice for George Floyd and his family – thank you for standing up and fighting for what is right.

For too long, our country has had two different systems of justice – one for white Americans and one for Black Americans and Americans of color. And while today’s verdict shows that sometimes the system can work, too often Black and brown Americans are killed at the hands of police officers. We cannot continue in this way.

We must truly commit ourselves to making our criminal justice system fair, equal, and just for every single person living in this country – not based on what you look like, what your job is, how much money you have, or where you live.”

Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea

“This afternoon, the jury for the Derek Chauvin trial delivered its verdict and found Mr. Chauvin guilty on all counts. Justice has been served. As the Mayor of Roanoke I want to emphasize that Roanoke is always looking to rise above any situation and do our best for the people who live in our community. We are a diverse and inclusive City, and we stand together against racism and hatred wherever it exists. This situation is an opportunity for us to come together as a community, to demonstrate that we can be thoughtful and committed to peace and unity as we uphold our values. Many of the recent demonstrations in our City have included people of all colors and backgrounds acting together, and that is how we need to continue to see ourselves, together not divided.”

Virginia Del. Mark Levine

“This time, for once, justice is served. Rest in peace, George Floyd. But we can never truly rest until the systemic racism that has long pervaded American history is rooted out in its entirety.”

Virginia House Democratic Majority Leader Charniele Herring and House Democratic Caucus Chair Rip Sullivan

“Justice has been served in the case of George Floyd’s death, but we recognize that we still have a long road ahead of us as we work to eliminate the inequality and injustice within our systems. Floyd’s death reawakened our communities to the need for urgent, effective reforms to ensure greater accountability for wrongdoing by those in uniform. 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.”

Former Virginia Governor and Candidate for 2021 Virginia Gubernatorial Race, Terry McAuliffe

“George Floyd’s murder shocked our nation, leaving us heartbroken for his family and outraged at the suffering that Black Americans have faced at the hands of a broken criminal justice system for too long. Today’s verdict delivers accountability, but this racist, broken system remains intact. The time to act is now. We need reform before even one more Black or Brown life is taken.”

Virginia Delegate and Candidate for 2021 Virginia Gubernatorial Race, Jennifer Carroll Foy

“Today’s verdict will never bring George Floyd back into the arms of his family and loved ones. We cannot forget that we will never get true, full justice, until we take action to change the system that took Mr. Floyd’s life, and impacted countless other Black Americans, like Lt. Caron Nazario and Donovan Lynch here in Virginia. Too many of us have been hurt and harmed when the cameras have been off or pointed away.

As a public defender, I’ve seen how our broken system works well for the wealthy and well-connected, and works against Black and other marginalized communities. For too long, bad actors at all levels of government have not been held accountable – from policing to healthcare disparities, economic inequality, corruption, and so much more. We can’t wait any longer for action, and we must acknowledge we got to this place because of a broken system that wasn’t meant to work for Black and brown communities. Now, I encourage everyone to peacefully join in the hard work of pushing for action and accountability, and to take care of yourselves in the days and months to come.

It’s on days like these that I know I will hold my sons tighter to me when I put them to bed tonight. And it’s on days like these that my worries about my husband weigh even heavier. For Xander, for Alex, and for all Virginians who have been left behind, I will not rest until we create a Virginia that is fair, just and equitable for us all.”

Virginia Senator and Candidate for 2021 Virginia Gubernatorial Race, Jennifer McClellan

More reactions will be added as Virginia lawmakers and officials share their thoughts.

About the Author:

Nicole Del Rosario joined WSLS 10 in August 2020.