[Editor’s note: The following statement was issued by JACL Executive Director David Inoue and Public Affairs VP Sarah Baker and was lightly edited only to adhere to AP Style.]
On Tuesday, April 20, Derek Chauvin, a former officer employed by the Minneapolis Police Department, was found guilty on all three charges related to the killing of George Floyd.
Chauvin, in being found guilty and now awaiting sentencing, received the due process he denied Floyd last year.
However, the verdict should not be seen as justice. Justice is measured in real transformation, something that our country has yet to truly see. Instead, this verdict is about accountability, and accountability is one step on that path towards justice. Change needs to occur on all levels, in our communities, in our police forces, in our justice system, and in our Congress, if we want to see true justice served.
At the end of the day, George Floyd is still dead, His family has been given a bittersweet victory, but they will never see their partner, father and brother again. In the months since that fateful day, countless more people of color have been killed at the hands of the police: Iremamber Sykap, Adam Toledo, Daunte Wright, Christian Hall and Angelo Quinto, just to name a few. Others still have been subjected to continued use of unnecessary and excessive force, as they feared for their lives and the very real possibility that their name may be added to the list above.
Let this small victory invigorate us and remind us of the work we do in making change for the better. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is a step in the right direction towards re-envisioning what law enforcement ought to look like in support of the communities with which it has too often been at odds. The systemic racism that led to Floyd’s death must be rooted out from law enforcement just as we must seek to end its grip on our education, health care, and financial systems.
George Floyd should be alive today. As we continue to say his name, and the names of all those lost to excessive use of force at the hands of the police, we will remember them, remember this moment in our history, and continue forward to create a more just and equitable world.
Derek Chauvin Trial at a Glance
- Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on all charges in the death of George Floyd.
- Jurors deliberated for more than 10 hours before reaching their decision on April 20.
- Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, up to 25 years for third-degree murder and up to 10 years for second-degree manslaughter.
- Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds while he pleaded, “I can’t breathe.”
- Chauvin’s bail was revoked after the verdict was read, and he will be sentenced by Judge Peter Cahill in approximately two months.