Gov. Murphy: Chauvin verdict provides measure of justice, but 'systemic racism is still pervasive'
Officials across New Jersey are reacting to the guilty verdict of former police officer Derek Chauvin.
Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was found guilty on all charges in the death of George Floyd. Video showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal issued a statement that said in part, “This was the right verdict. But as a career prosecutor, I know how even a successful trial verdict can leave the families of victims with a sense of emptiness. A conviction cannot undo the trauma; it can never bring back a lost loved one.”
Grewal’s statement continued, “A flawed system laid the groundwork for the death of George Floyd. It’s a system that too often fails to recruit police from the communities they guard, fails to train officers properly, fails to place just limits on the use of force against citizens, and fails to create mechanisms for the independent investigation of misconduct. It’s a system that badly needs reform—here and across the country.”
Grewal has issued a series of directives to reform policing in New Jersey and created an online database for police use of force in New Jersey.
Gov. Phil Murphy said, “George Floyd, like countless other Black Americans whose futures have been unjustly stolen from them, should be alive today. While today’s verdict provides some measure of justice and accountability for the Floyd family and millions of our fellow Americans, all of us must remember that systemic racism is still pervasive in American life.”
Sen. Cory Booker reacted on Twitter, writing, “This verdict is justice served—but it is not justice for George Floyd. True justice would be a country where George Floyd would still be alive today. True justice demands action—it demands change & that we do everything we can to stop this from happening again & again & again.”
Sen. Bob Menendez also issued a statement, saying, “Derek Chauvin put his knee on George Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds with no regard for his life. Had he not, George Floyd would still be alive. Grateful that the jury gave George’s family the justice they deserve… Now it’s on us to take action to prevent encounters that end with senseless violence.”
Menendez also called on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The bill would increase police accountability and transparency, set national use-of-force standards, and improve police training.
New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Colligan said, "Today’s decision ends a very difficult time in our nation’s history. I said at the time last year that the actions in Minnesota were contrary to our training in New Jersey and does not represent who we are. This event ran counter to the deeds put forward by so many good men and women in law enforcement every single day."
Floyd’s death triggered worldwide protests, violence and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the United States.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.