Following the guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin in Minnesota, King County Executive Dow Constantine issued the following statement:
"Today, a Minneapolis jury convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin of all charges – second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter – for the killing of George Floyd last year.
"Mr. Floyd's death sparked outrage in our community, across the country, and around the world as bystander video went viral. The footage of the last minutes of Mr. Floyd's life was gut-wrenching, devastating, and impossible to ignore. Those with the privilege to disengage on issues of race, who had not previously had to pay attention, watched with shock and horror as former Officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck, even after he had stopped moving and drew his final breath. Members of the Black community across this nation, as well as Indigenous people and other communities of color were also horrified but sadly, not surprised.
"We can, and should, hope that the jury verdict today will mark a shift – a break in a system poisoned by racism. Today's verdict can represent a major step toward a more racially just America, one where the state, and the agents of the state, seek to truly serve every person and all communities with dignity, respect, and care, and will speak up – even against their own colleagues – when they are wrong. The outcome of this trial illuminates for us all the importance of standing up against racism and bias, in policing and the entire justice system, and in all other systems in our society that disproportionately harm based on race.
"We are responsible for becoming the community and society we want to be. We must stand together against racism, hatred, and violence. We must work together to build a fair, racially just, and equitable society where the color of a person's skin does not determine life outcomes.
"We must do everything we can to make King County a safe, diverse, welcoming community where every person can thrive."
For more information, contact:
Chase Gallagher, Executive Office, 206-263-8537