Colorado’s leaders applauded the guilty verdict of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, whose killing of George Floyd sparked a national reckoning for racial and social justice across the country.
Mayor Michael Hancock called it the “right verdict.”
“This trial, and this guilty verdict, may be just one step toward reconciliation, but it is a powerful moment for the cause of equal justice in our society,” Hancock said in a statement. “We have much work still to do, and that march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge is still far from done, but this is certainly a victory for that mission.”
Gov. Jared Polis said the verdict provided a “glimmer of hope” and a “glimpse of justice.”
“This verdict does not bring back George Floyd,” Polis said in a statement. “True justice would mean having him here with us today. Let us acknowledge this victory and use this inflection point to bend the arc of social equality toward lasting justice so this doesn’t happen again.”
Authorities at midday cleared the parking lot that rings the Colorado Capitol and increased police presence around the building, but almost no one was outside the Capitol hours after the verdict was announced. Inside, members of Colorado’s Black Democratic Legislative Caucus held a news conference expressing their gratitude in the news.
“We felt the weight of our ancestors, we felt the collective sigh of relief,” said caucus chair Rep. Leslie Herod, a Denver Democrat. “And we felt a moment of solidarity in the work.”
Democratic Sen. James Coleman of Denver, one of two Black men who are Colorado legislators, said he has talked to his son about interactions with police, but his son “can have hope, different than I have ever had in my lifetime, in his lifetime.”
Democratic Sen. Rhonda Fields of Aurora reflected on other incidents.
“I am glad for the verdict,” Fields said. “But I am still having difficulty breathing. We don’t have justice for Breonna Taylor. There’s many victims that we don’t have justice for. So we have to continue to do the work.”
That work, for the Democratic lawmakers, includes bills on police discipline and limiting and the use of the sedative ketamine by first responders.
The father of Elijah McClain, the 23-year-old who died after he was detained by Aurora police and sedated with ketamine, said in a statement through his attorney that he was glad that the Floyd family would see some accountability. “Nothing will bring George Floyd back, just like nothing will bring Elijah back,” he said. “But I am happy for the family of George Floyd that the officers who killed him have been held accountable.”
Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said in a statement that his agency has worked to listen and learn from the community since Floyd’s death.
“We remain committed to finding the best ways to ensure policing in Denver is safe and equitable for all,” Pazen said. “I believe we have made meaningful progress in the nearly 11 months since his death, but there is more work to be done.”
Isabella Dominique, who was active in leading protests in Colorado over the past year, said she doesn’t consider the verdict justice “largely because I think my definitions of justice are centered around remedying a situation.”
“When the government murders somebody, there’s not much that can remedy that situation,” she said.
Source: Read Full Article