Rochester area reacts to Chauvin verdict |

Rochester area reacts to Chauvin verdict

Derek Chauvin Photo: AP. Derek Chauvin

Updated: April 21, 2021 01:42 PM
Created: April 20, 2021 05:18 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Many in Rochester are reacting after former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all counts Tuesday.

Chauvin was found guilty of second and third-degree murder as well as second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd last May.

News10NBC interviewed criminal defense attorney Peter Pullano about the verdict. Watch the interview in the video in the player below (mobile users, click here):

Read local reactions below.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

"The verdicts delivered today were a powerful statement of accountability. George Floyd's family and his loved ones got well-deserved closure, and all of us who deeply and personally felt his loss gained hope in the possibility of progress. 

But while I'm grateful that the jury returned these verdicts, accountability is not the same as justice. It doesn't make an unacceptable situation acceptable, and it doesn't bring Gianna's dad back. But it must fuel our continued march towards equity. 

Emmett Till. Medgar Evers. Rodney King. Amadou Diallo. Sean Bell. Trayvon Martin. Eric Garner. Michael Brown. Philando Castile. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. Daunte Wright. Adam Toledo. Our country has never fully lived up to its founding ideal, of liberty and justice for all. Still, our greatest attribute has always been our optimism, our belief in an ever better future, our faith in the strength of humanity.  

We saw that faith in streets across the country last summer and over the last 11 months. Our charge now is to channel our grief, our anger, our righteous energy, and make real, positive, and long-overdue change happen." 

Attorney General Letitia James

"Almost one year ago, the Floyd family and communities across this nation were torn apart by the murder of George Floyd. We all watched in helpless desperation as a man was mercilessly killed by the knee of a police officer. Today, there is finally accountability for this atrocious crime that stole the life of a father, brother, son, and friend. I pray that the Floyd family finds some semblance of justice and peace for this horribly unjust act. While true justice will never be served as long as Black men and women are subjected to such inequality, today, we are one step closer to a fairer system."

U.S. Rep. Joe Morelle (D, NY-25)

“I’m thankful to the jury for their swift and decisive action to hold Derek Chauvin accountable for the murder of George Floyd. But this verdict doesn’t bring George Floyd’s life back, and it doesn’t end the pain and injustice that far too many Black Americans experience every day. 

This is a solemn moment in our history. I pray that it marks another step toward the healing of our society and the reform we need to prevent further tragedies.”

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello

"George Floyd’s life was unexpectedly and unnecessarily cut short at the hands of the very person sworn to serve and protect him.  My prayers are with Mr. Floyd, his family and friends on this difficult day.

While this verdict won’t bring Mr. Floyd back, I am hopeful that this guilty verdict will bring his family and friends some measure of justice and closure.

Too often Black and Brown men and women in America have suffered the same fate as Mr. Floyd as a result of inequities that exist in systems across our country. That must change.

The RASE Commission was formed in light Mr. Floyd’s death to examine how we can collectively address those inequities here at home. That work is needed now more than ever."

Monroe County Legislature Minority Leader Vince Felder

"I am both elated and relieved that the jury found Mr. Chauvin guilty for what was an obviously egregious act of depravity against Mr. Floyd. That this act was caught on video, and that the world witnessed Mr. Chauvin kneeling on the back of Mr. Floyd for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, meant that the world was watching to see if justice would be served in this case. Mr. Floyd begged for his life, but Mr. Chauvin disregarded Mr. Floyd’s humanity and ignored his pleas. 

Since the beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles in 1991, African Americans have watched time and again as police officers in the United States have beaten and/or murdered unarmed African American men and women, caught on video, and either have not been charged or indicted, or have been acquitted. Indeed, the murder of unarmed African American men and women goes back much further than 1991, and it has led to the belief that police in America are free to murder innocent African Americans without fear of penalty.  

Let us not forget that here in Rochester, Daniel Prude was murdered by police officers, caught on video, and a grand jury failed to indict them. He should be alive today. So, while I celebrate this verdict, I am sobered by the reality that it took something so obviously egregious and depraved to produce this verdict. All the families of people of color who have been murdered by the police deserved the same justice that George Floyd’s family received today. 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” I am pleased that justice was served today, and I am committed to continuing the fight to ending police brutality and the deaths of innocent people of color at the hands of police officers. It is my hope that this verdict signals the beginning of a new era of police accountability, and not a singular event."

Monroe County Legislature's Black & Asian Democratic Caucus

"The Black and Asian Democratic Caucus is pleased with the verdict in the criminal case against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Our thoughts today are with the family of George Floyd, whose murder sparked a movement like no other in history. Mr. Floyd’s death was an example in a long line of violence against people of color by law enforcement. We hope that the conviction on all counts against Mr. Chauvin signals the beginning of change when it comes to police-community relations, especially when those communities are mostly made up of people of color. We also hope that this will change the trajectory of policing across the nation to make everybody safer. Justice for George Floyd and his family brings us relief and we must never forget the names of those who never received their justice.  

However, the movement is far from being done. As we saw in our own city just last year in the case of Daniel Prude, people of color are still killed while those responsible for the deaths are not being held accountable. We will keep fighting for justice for all of those who have been victims of police brutality and all other forms of violence against communities of color. As the great Malcolm X said, 'I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.'"

Mayoral candidate Malik Evans

“Nothing can bring back George Floyd’s life, but I pray that today’s verdict gives some peace to his family. While this verdict is progress, our country has a moral imperative to create a new normal, where our legacy of systemic racism is not reflected in our public institutions or private lives.

We have seen the impacts of this system firsthand in Rochester, and I remain committed to breaking this legacy by bringing our city together and bridging this divide. As Mayor, I will work to increase transparency, strengthen police accountability measures, and create an RPD that serves all citizens equally."

State Sen. Samra Brouk (D, 55)

“Today Derek Chauvin, the officer who murdered George Floyd, has been found guilty on all charges. This verdict is a small step towards accountability, but true justice resides in the work that lies ahead to redress centuries of tragedy and trauma inflicted on and endured by so many Black men and women in this country. George Floyd should still be alive today. And although nothing can bring him back to his family, we must continue to honor him by actively working to transform and rebuild our policing systems to equally serve all of us. May this verdict provide some sense of peace to the Floyd family and Black communities across the country.”

Assemblymember Harry Bronson (D, 138)

"The eyes of the world witnessed the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Derrick Chauvin and now a court of law has finally delivered justice. While many were shocked at the horrifying video that was soon seen around the world, for others this was just another day for people of color in America. We will never forget George Floyd and we will remember his life was so much more than his last 9 minutes and 29 seconds. 

George Floyd’s life mattered.

Let this verdict ring throughout our country and serve as a reminder that no one is above the law. As a nation, we must hold law enforcement officers accountable and continue the hard work of reforming our justice system. It is upon all of us to keep moving forward and continue the fight for racial justice.

Today, justice was served. Justice was served for George Floyd."

Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie (D, 83)

"George Floyd’s murder was a tragedy. It was a crime that the entire world witnessed on video over the course of nine minutes and 29 seconds. That Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all counts is important and it is right. But I also know we must continue to challenge the system that enabled his murder in the first place.

George Floyd’s death was a turning point. Across our state, our country and indeed the world, people took to the streets to say no more to the systemic racism that costs the lives of our friends and neighbors. To say that those with power and authority must be held responsible for their actions. To demand that we rebalance the tilted scales of justice in our country. To say that Black Lives Matter.

This verdict is a victory, but we cannot forget that George Floyd was more than a rallying call for a reckoning in our justice system – he was a man. He was a father and a brother, and his family will always feel his loss. They have endured this terrible tragedy with grace and dignity. My heart goes out to George Floyd’s friends and family. I hope this brings them a sense of justice, and that they can find strength and peace." 

Rev. Lewis Stewart of United Christian Leadership Ministry

"The verdict is a portion of justice for George Floyd and his family. What happened to George Floyd is symbolic of what has happened to Black people since 1691. Brutal lynchings, horrific killings and the devastation of Black lives. America is a White Supremacist nation and demonstrated its de-evaluation for black lives by acts of state terrorism by representatives of law enforcement — Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, Daniel Prude, Emmet Till and countless others never received justice.

Derek Chauvin was found guilty and criminally liable for killing George Floyd: Guilty on all three counts.

This verdict is a victory for Mr. Floyd, his family and for humanity. Justice is possible in American and police officers who engage in such beastly actions shall not escape the judgment of the people.

Therefore, George Floyd has become an international symbol of American racist oppression and that if we the people are persistent and consistent in protest, and fighting for transformational policies, justice shall win out.

We must hold back the darkness by lifting out voices in outrage and pushing back against American Systemic racism and injustice."

PAB Chair Shani Wilson

“Yesterday’s verdict is, for many across our country, a taste of accountability,” said PAB Chair Shani Wilson. “Justice – deep, sustained, and lasting accountability – requires much more. Justice means every allegation of police misconduct being investigated quickly and fairly. Justice means rewriting police culture to prevent tragedies before they happen. Justice means communities having a seat at the table, fundamentally reimagining public safety. Our community created the PAB to help deliver justice. What this moment demands is that the PAB be fully funded. The work continues.”

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