President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris reacted to the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial in an address from the White House.
President Biden called the guilty verdict a “giant step forward in the march toward justice in America” and commended the witnesses who testified, including police officers.
The president added that it sends a message that “no one should be above the law” but added that the verdict was “not enough.”
“We can’t stop here. In order to live a real change in reform, we can and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that tragedy like this will ever happen to occur again,” the president said and called on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which Republicans oppose.
Speaking before President Biden, Vice President Harris said that, although the verdict brings a measure of relief, there is still far to go to achieve racial justice in the United States.
“Today, we feel a sigh of relief. Still, it cannot take away the pain. A measure of justice isn’t the same as equal justice. This verdict brings us a step closer and, the fact is, we still have work to do. We still must reform the system,” Harris said, who also vowed to push the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. “The President and I will continue to urge the Senate to pass this legislation, not as a panacea for every problem, but as a start. This work is long overdue.”
Other politicians reacting to the news include Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, who released a statement on Facebook after the verdict was read, calling it an “important step forward for justice in Minnesota.” However, he noted, the death of Daunte Wright on April 11 is a reminder that “our work has only begun.”
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, the lead prosecutor in the Derek Chauvin murder trial, said, “I would not call today’s verdict justice, however, because justice implies true restoration. But it is accountability, which is the first step towards justice.”
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland weighed on Tuesday’s verdict, stating the jury “has fulfilled its civic duty.” Garland added that the Justice Department’s civil rights investigation into Floyd’s death is still ongoing.
Additionally, Attorney Ben Crump, who represented George Floyd’s family that helped settle a $27 million civil lawsuit last month, called the Chauvin verdict a “turning point in American history for accountability of law enforcement.”
Antonio M. Romanucci, another attorney on the legal team, said in a statement the verdict “reinforces significant police reforms underway in Minneapolis.”
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