Local law enforcement responds to Chauvin guilty verdict
RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Local reaction is pouring in following the verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd.
On Tuesday, a jury found Chauvin guilty on all three counts against him: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The Chief Jason Soto with the Reno Police Department:
Justice was served today for George Floyd and his family. Let this be a reminder to all of us in our law enforcement profession to always do the right thing. We are committed to preserving the nobility and legitimacy of this profession by holding ourselves accountable to the highest standards. #YourPoliceOurCommunity
Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam:
330 days ago George Floyd lost his life.
Today a jury decided that former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is guilty of second-degree murder, guilty of third-degree murder, and guilty of second-degree manslaughter.
Throughout the last 330 days I have had the opportunity to speak with community members and lawmakers about my thoughts on George Floyd’s death. And, like so many families in this community which has always been my home, my children have asked me questions - questions which led to deep discussion about policing in our community, our state and indeed, our country.
The simple fact is, as Sheriff, I took an oath ‘to protect and serve and uphold the Constitution.’
Let me be clear - it is past time we hold law enforcement officers who tarnish our profession and oath accountable for deplorable actions.
Washoe County has always been a place where people respect, honor and fight for one another - it remains my fervent hope these truths will prevail. This afternoon and always, law enforcement stands with individuals in supporting the right to protest peacefully.
That said, violence and destruction will not be tolerated. Exercising one’s Constitutional right for freedom of speech and right to protest is the foundation on which America is built.
I commit to every resident of Washoe County that the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office will continue working to earn your trust so that we can protect and serve everyone.
Governor Steve Sisolak:
“Today, the jury in the Derek Chauvin trial returned a guilty verdict on all three counts in the death of Mr. George Floyd. Mr. Floyd was pinned to the ground for an excruciating nine minutes and 29 seconds as he pleaded for help, gasped for air, and gave his final words of “Please, I can’t breathe.”
The nation, and in particular, communities of color across the United States, have anxiously watched this trial – re-living those nine minutes and 29 seconds from every angle and hearing from dozens of witnesses. I am grateful that the jury found that the evidence was overwhelming, and I want to thank Minnesota Attorney General Ellison and his team for prosecuting the murder of George Floyd to the fullest extent of the law.
I pray this verdict provides some justice and peace to George Floyd’s family and loved ones. While today’s verdict should be a turning point for our country, we know there is much work ahead to dismantle the systemic racism and injustices our Black and minority communities face. Members of these communities still live with the additional fear that what should be routine or minor police encounters could end tragically.
I join all those who are honoring George Floyd’s memory by recommitting to continue the hard work ahead of addressing historic and long-stemming injustices and racism in our country. I look forward to working with State and local leaders, along with community members throughout Nevada, to address issues of racial injustice, systemic inequalities and needed reforms.”
U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada):
“This was the right decision. George Floyd should still be alive today. Though the pain experienced by Mr. Floyd’s family, Minneapolis, and all of America cannot be erased, this is a step toward justice. Black Lives Matter. Our work is far from done. We must continue working together to create a stronger, more inclusive justice system that protects all of our communities.”
Jason Williamson, deputy director of the national ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project:
“George Floyd will never make his way home to play games with his daughter, Gianna. He’ll never go on walks through the park with his beloved fiancée Courteney or play basketball with his brother, Philonise. While today’s verdict is a step forward in the fight for police accountability and may help heal a grieving community, the systems that allowed a police officer to murder Mr. Floyd, ripping him away from his family and the communities that loved him so much, remain fully intact. These are the same systems that resulted in the death of another 20-year-old Black man at the hands of police less than 10 miles from this trial.
“Honoring the lives of George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown and countless other Black lives violently taken at the hands of police means that elected officials, activists, organizations like the ACLU, and regular people must not allow this verdict to lull us into a place of complacency. Instead, we must renew our conviction to create a world where police do not have the opportunity to use violence and harassment to target Black people as police have been doing since their inception as slave patrols created to monitor, control, and oppress Black communities. This new world includes removing police entirely from low-level enforcement and massively reinvesting in the communities that desperately want more for the legacies of their fallen. And we will fight with them to get there.”
Athar Haseebullah, Esq., executive director of the ACLU of Nevada:
“While this verdict brings a certain rare form of accountability for police, achieving this outcome for Mr. Floyd is only one step in addressing police abuse of power, disparate treatment, and excessive force against Black and Brown communities. We still must radically change policing in Nevada and across the country, increase accountability and transparency, and create policies that combat racism in policing.
“The jury’s decision to convict Derek Chauvin does not negate the fact that Mr. Floyd’s tragic murder is part of a horrifying local and national pattern of officers using excessive force against people of color. Mr. Floyd was one of more than 5,000 people killed by police since 2015.
“Here in Nevada, we have to contend with the fact that we lack sufficient accountability in cases of police violence. Just last week in Las Vegas, the community watched a hollow process unfold in the case of Jorge Gomez, who was gunned down by Metro police during a Black Lives Matter protest in June. Despite significant questions about the police officers’ violent response in that case, the Clark County District Attorney’s office once again passed the buck.
“There are several bills being considered at the Nevada Legislature that can move the state of Nevada a few steps forward, but state and local leaders have to prioritize racial justice. Our elected officials, activists, communities, and organizations, including the ACLU of Nevada, must continue to fight for racial justice in George Floyd’s name. We must re-examine our entire system of public safety and public health and root out the racism that pervades law enforcement. We must prohibit police mistreatment of communities of color, which leads to people being both underserved and overpoliced. We must divert funding from traditional policing toward community-based services, such as crisis teams, so all communities are truly safe. We must remove police from enforcing traffic infractions and low-level offenses. Taking another person’s life is the most extreme action a police officer can take, and new standards for use of force, along with increased accountability and transparency, are needed to ensure that police violence and killings end for good.”
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