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Nevada officials, organizations respond to guilty verdict in Derek Chauvin trial

APTOPIX George Floyd Officer Trial
Posted at 2:44 PM, Apr 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-20 18:46:10-04

NEVADA (KTNV) — Nevada's elected officials, leadership and organizations are weighing in on the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial on Tuesday.

Chauvin was found guilty of all three charges related to the May 2020 death of George Floyd: second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

RELATED: Derek Chauvin found guilty of all charges in murder of George Floyd

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Undersheriff Christopher Darcy is set to speak at 4 p.m. to address the verdict. Watch what the police department has to say live once that begins here.


Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto wrote on Twitter:

This was the right decision. George Floyd should still be alive today. Though the pain experienced by Mr. Floyd’s family, Minneapolis, and all of America cannot be erased, this is a step toward justice.

Black Lives Matter. Our work is far from done. We must continue working together to create a stronger, more inclusive justice system that protects all of our communities.

Sen. Jacky Rosen wrote on Twitter:

While our justice system worked today, George Floyd should still be alive.

My heart remains with the Floyd family. We have so much work to do to bring an end to hate and senseless violence, and to reform how we conduct policing in America.

Rep Dina Titus wrote on Twitter:

George Floyd's death shocked the conscience of our country. It inspired a new generation to call out the injustices in our society that too often have been overlooked.

The judicial system delivered accountability when it rendered a guilty verdict after carefully considering the evidence, but that does not change fact that George Floyd should be alive today.

This verdict should remind us all of what often happens when Black lives are taken and there is no one around to record it. We need systemic reform in this country and I will continue to push the Justice In Policing Act to make that a reality.

Rep. Susie Lee wrote on Twitter:

I’m glad to see George Floyd’s family get the justice they deserve.

George Floyd should be alive today.

Rep. Steven Horsford sent out a tweet with one word, "justice," and a photograph of the following statement:

“Today’s verdict means justice for George Floyd and his family,” said Congressman Steven Horsford. “Throughout American history, there are countless examples of juries turning their backs on the worth and value of Black lives. Today, the jurors in the George Floyd trial believed the evidence in front of their eyes, and delivered the right verdict.

“Along with the millions of Americans who have demanded justice for George Floyd over the past eleven months, I am deeply relieved by today's verdict. As we move forward with sentencing, I hope that Derek Chauvin will be held fully accountable, with a sentence that reflects the true severity of his actions.

“In the aftermath of this trial and the deaths of George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Breonna Taylor, and so many others who have lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement, the Senate has a moral obligation to act quickly to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and enact the police accountability legislation that Americans deserve.”

Gov. Steve Sisolak issued the following statement after the verdict was read:

Today, the jury in the Derek Chauvin trial returned a guilty verdict on all three counts in the death of Mr. George Floyd. Mr. Floyd was pinned to the ground for an excruciating nine minutes and 29 seconds as he pleaded for help, gasped for air, and gave his final words of “Please, I can’t breathe.”

The nation, and in particular, communities of color across the United States, have anxiously watched this trial – re-living those nine minutes and 29 seconds from every angle and hearing from dozens of witnesses. I am grateful that the jury found that the evidence was overwhelming, and I want to thank Minnesota Attorney General Ellison and his team for prosecuting the murder of George Floyd to the fullest extent of the law.

I pray this verdict provides some justice and peace to George Floyd’s family and loved ones. While today's verdict should be a turning point for our country, we know there is much work ahead to dismantle the systemic racism and injustices our Black and minority communities face. Members of these communities still live with the additional fear that what should be routine or minor police encounters could end tragically.

I join all those who are honoring George Floyd’s memory by recommitting to continue the hard work ahead of addressing historic and long-stemming injustices and racism in our country. I look forward to working with State and local leaders, along with community members throughout Nevada, to address issues of racial injustice, systemic inequalities and needed reforms.

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford released the following statement. You can watch a video of his remarks here.

"Today, a jury held George Floyd’s murderer accountable," said AG Ford. "Mr. Floyd’s life mattered, just as every innocent life taken at the hands law enforcement does. Let this trial serve as evidence that we will no longer tolerate the heinous killings of African-Americans and minorities at the hand of rogue police officers.”

“I would like to thank my colleague in Minnesota, Attorney General Keith Ellison and his team for prosecuting this case with professionalism and integrity to hold Mr. Floyd’s murderer accountable.”

“Many Nevadans have asked me how I felt about this trial, and to be frank, it was too painful for me to watch. I did not want to relive the trauma – trauma that is, unfortunately, a common re-occurrence for me and so many others. As an African-American, I don’t take the mistreatment of members of my community or any minority community lightly. As Nevada's top law enforcement officer, my duty will always lie on the side of accountability and justice. Today, we saw specific accountability. But the fight for perpetual justice continues.”

“Historically, the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color has been strained, to say the least, and I have always said that law enforcement must make proactive efforts to augment, restore, and create trust,” AG Ford continued. “After Mr. Floyd’s death, I made every effort to reach out to Nevadans by hosting a series of town halls – the Justice & Injustice Forum – with law enforcement officials, community leaders, legislators, and others to develop tangible ways to improve relations between law enforcement and the communities we serve, particularly communities of color. The conversations were uncomfortable, but entirely necessary. And some of the solutions arising out the forum are now being implemented or legislated, including two bills my Office sponsored that are pending in the Nevada Legislature right now.”

“My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to Mr. Floyd's family. And I reiterate my commitment to all Nevadans to continue an open and honest conversation with you. I will always work to seek justice on your behalf.”

AG Ford also released a joint statement with Massachusetts AG Maura Healey on the verdict. Both are co-chairs of the Democratic Attorneys General Association:

Statement from Massachusetts AG Maura Healey and Nevada AG Aaron Ford, Co-Chairs of the Democratic Attorneys General Association

“Today, there was accountability for George Floyd’s murder. But the work for justice continues. Democratic AGs stand in solidarity with people across the country who are fighting to bring equity and fairness to the justice system.”

“Today, we recommit to working to end the injustice of police killings without consequence – disproportionately affecting Black, Brown and other communities and families of color.”

“We applaud our colleague AG Keith Ellison and his team for their leadership and commitment to justice for George Floyd and his family.”

“To those marching in the streets for continued justice and progress, know that we stand with you in the fight for reforms, and are working to make sure systemic change happens at the state and federal level.”

The Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Melody Rose issued the following statement:

"Like many, I was profoundly disturbed by the death of George Floyd last year. In light of today’s verdict in the case of Mr. Floyd’s death, we at NSHE reaffirm our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and the belief that we are stronger together.

Our nation continues to struggle with racially motivated violence, harassment, and discrimination against Black citizens. We have also seen a rise in hate directed at Asian communities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, against our Latino and undocumented communities due to immigration issues, and our LGBTQ communities due to sexual orientation and gender identity.

We need to take time to have difficult conversations regarding racism and discrimination in all forms — inside and outside of the classroom. We must engage in more of these discussions on our campuses and acknowledge the deep-rooted, systemic, and historical racism and discrimination that exists in our country.

By embracing our differences and recognizing that racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual orientation barriers still exist we will better prepare our graduates to fight the injustices that continue to plague our nation. As Chancellor of NSHE, I will continue to listen and advocate for these values."

- Chancellor Melody Rose, Ph.D.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada released the following statements from the deputy director of the national ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project and the executive director of the ACLU of Nevada:

The following statement can be attributed to Jason Williamson, deputy director of the national ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project:

“George Floyd will never make his way home to play games with his daughter, Gianna. He’ll never go on walks through the park with his beloved fiancée Courteney or play basketball with his brother, Philonise. While today’s verdict is a step forward in the fight for police accountability and may help heal a grieving community, the systems that allowed a police officer to murder Mr. Floyd, ripping him away from his family and the communities that loved him so much, remain fully intact. These are the same systems that resulted in the death of another 20-year-old Black man at the hands of police less than 10 miles from this trial.

“Honoring the lives of George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown and countless other Black lives violently taken at the hands of police means that elected officials, activists, organizations like the ACLU, and regular people must not allow this verdict to lull us into a place of complacency. Instead, we must renew our conviction to create a world where police do not have the opportunity to use violence and harassment to target Black people as police have been doing since their inception as slave patrols created to monitor, control, and oppress Black communities. This new world includes removing police entirely from low-level enforcement and massively reinvesting in the communities that desperately want more for the legacies of their fallen. And we will fight with them to get there.”

The following statement can be attributed to Athar Haseebullah, Esq., executive director of the ACLU of Nevada:

“While this verdict brings a certain rare form of accountability for police, achieving this outcome for Mr. Floyd is only one step in addressing police abuse of power, disparate treatment, and excessive force against Black and Brown communities. We still must radically change policing in Nevada and across the country, increase accountability and transparency, and create policies that combat racism in policing.

“The jury's decision to convict Derek Chauvin does not negate the fact that Mr. Floyd’s tragic murder is part of a horrifying local and national pattern of officers using excessive force against people of color. Mr. Floyd was one of more than 5,000 people killed by police since 2015.

“Here in Nevada, we have to contend with the fact that we lack sufficient accountability in cases of police violence. Just last week in Las Vegas, the community watched a hollow process unfold in the case of Jorge Gomez, who was gunned down by Metro police during a Black Lives Matter protest in June. Despite significant questions about the police officers’ violent response in that case, the Clark County District Attorney’s office once again passed the buck.

“There are several bills being considered at the Nevada Legislature that can move the state of Nevada a few steps forward, but state and local leaders have to prioritize racial justice. Our elected officials, activists, communities, and organizations, including the ACLU of Nevada, must continue to fight for racial justice in George Floyd’s name. We must re-examine our entire system of public safety and public health and root out the racism that pervades law enforcement. We must prohibit police mistreatment of communities of color, which leads to people being both underserved and overpoliced. We must divert funding from traditional policing toward community-based services, such as crisis teams, so all communities are truly safe. We must remove police from enforcing traffic infractions and low-level offenses. Taking another person’s life is the most extreme action a police officer can take, and new standards for use of force, along with increased accountability and transparency, are needed to ensure that police violence and killings end for good.”

Check back for updates as more statements and responses are added.