NORFOLK, Va. — Leaders in Hampton Roads and across Virginia are reacting after former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.
It was the explosive case that triggered worldwide protests, violence, and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S.
Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement: “While nothing will bring George Floyd back to his family and loved ones, the verdict was just. Derek Chauvin was afforded the due process that George Floyd was denied and found guilty by a jury of his peers. This verdict is a start, but it does not absolve Congress and the federal government of our responsibility to reform policing across the country, and it is a reminder of the need for the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.”
Last month in Congress, Scott, along with House Democrats, passed the most ambitious effort in decades to overhaul policing nationwide under the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
The bill would ban chokeholds and address so-called qualified immunity that shields law enforcement from certain lawsuits. It would also create national standards for policing in a bid to bolster accountability.
Virginia's two Senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both posted statements on social media, with Warner also calling on his Senate colleagues to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act:
Governor Ralph Northam released the following statement following the verdict:
“The life of George Floyd matters. He should still be alive today, and no courtroom decision can bring him back. But this decision is an important step. It is a step towards accountability for police. It is a step towards justice—for George Floyd, for his family, for his community, and for our entire country.
“I pray that today brings some small comfort to the family of George Floyd and all who loved him. May we honor his legacy by continuing on this march towards justice and meaningful change. We have a lot of work ahead.”
Attorney General Mark Herring issued the following statement:
“George Floyd should still be alive, and while no verdict will bring him back to his family, these verdicts provide a measure of justice and accountability for a heartless and senseless murder,” said Attorney General Herring. “The world watched as Derek Chauvin put his knee on George Floyd’s neck – ending his life as he called out for his mother. This guilty verdict will hopefully be an inflection point that forces us all to recommit to building a society in which Black lives matter and all Americans can live without fearing the police or discrimination.
“To the hardworking prosecutors and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who were dedicated to getting this justice for George Floyd and his family – thank you for standing up and fighting for what is right.
“For too long, our country has had two different systems of justice – one for white Americans and one for Black Americans and Americans of color. And while today’s verdict shows that sometimes the system can work, too often Black and brown Americans are killed at the hands of police officers. We cannot continue in this way.
“We must truly commit ourselves to making our criminal justice system fair, equal, and just for every single person living in this country – not based on what you look like, what your job is, how much money you have, or where you live.”
Rep. Elaine Luria (VA-02) also tweeted about the verdict:
Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday afternoon after the jury deliberated about 10 hours over two days in a city on edge against another outbreak of unrest.
Floyd died last May after Chauvin, a white officer, pinned his knee on or close to the 46-year-old Black man’s neck for about 9 1/2 minutes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.