CHICAGO (CBS Chicago/CBS Minnesota) — Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday afternoon that justice was served as fired Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all counts in the death of George Floyd.

The mayor posted the following statement on Facebook:

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“In May of 2020, I saw the harrowing footage of George Floyd’s life being extinguished beneath Derek Chauvin’s knee, and I cried. I said then and I say now, being Black in America cannot be a death sentence.

“I join my fellow Chicagoans, Americans, and human beings across the world as justice is being served in Minneapolis today. A jury of his peers listened to the evidence presented by both sides and came to the only reasonable verdict based on the overwhelming evidence presented by the Prosecution.

“I want to commend the jury, the prosecution and the people of Minnesota for their invaluable work to hold Mr. Chauvin accountable for his crimes. George Floyd’s death sparked a pivotal movement for Americans fighting to end systematic racism.

“Today marks a moment where future generations can look back and see that we as a nation came together and rightfully demanded justice and accountability. And justice was served.

“Let us pray that the Lord continues to watch over George Floyd’s family and loved ones. Pray for peace as we continue on our journey towards a more just and equitable world.”

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle also issued a statement, endorsing the verdict, but saying there is a long way to go when it comes to societal change:

“I want to first extend my condolences to the family of George Floyd who have had to relive painful memories during the trial.

“While the guilty verdict does not bring George Floyd back, today reminds the Black and Brown people of America that sometimes, with monumental effort on behalf of the people, a verdict reflecting the true meaning of justice can be returned.

“The fact that for many, today’s guilty verdict was in question, tells us we still have a long way to go in bringing accountability to policing.

“Still, today’s verdict is a step in the necessary direction of reforming the systems that have entrenched racism into the police departments of this country: the codes of silence, the inadequate disciplinary systems, the bloated budgets, and the fearmongering rhetoric whenever police departments come under scrutiny.

“I envision a society where policing has a place alongside a variety of other services in responding to urgent situations and hope that the bad acts of a few officers do not define the many other officers who protect and serve with honor.

“But, even in the best of situations, long term improvements in public safety will not be brought about by police departments.

“To prevent crime, we must address the inequities in our society; we must continue to increase our investments in the communities most affected by both crime and policing; and we must repair the harm of decades of redlining, restrictive covenants, mass incarceration, and disinvestment.”

Several Chicago aldermen also issued statements in support of the verdict.

 

Chauvin was convicted Tuesday following nearly a year of protest, introspection, and raw emotion. Last May, he held a knee down on George Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes.

He was found guilty of second-degree murder and two other charges in Floyd’s death.

The verdict was read in Hennepin County, Minnesota court just after 4 p.m. Thursday. It took the jury roughly 10 hours of deliberation to reach their verdict — about four hours Monday afternoon and evening, and another six hours Tuesday starting at 8 a.m.

Chauvin was convicted of three charges:
• Second-degree unintentional murder means causing death without intent by committing a felony.
• Second-degree manslaughter is causing death by unreasonable risk.
• Third-degree murder means causing death by an “eminently dangerous” act, showing a “depraved mind.”

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The maximum penalty on second-degree murder charges is up to 40 years in prison, and the third-degree murder charges carries a sentence of up to 25 years in prison. The maximum penalty on second-degree manslaughter is up to 10 years in prison.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff