Civil rights groups, lawmakers react to guilty verdict against officer in George Floyd death

ATLANTA — Reaction from across metro Atlanta started pouring in within minutes of the guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin, the former officer who killed George Floyd.

A jury found Chauvin guilty on all counts Tuesday afternoon in Floyd’s the death.


The killing sparked days of protests across the county and here in Atlanta last year.

Here is what local lawmakers and metro groups are saying about the guilty verdict:

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms:

“While I am grateful that the verdict is guilty on all three counts, there is no verdict or punishment that will bring George Floyd back to his family. As tragedies have propelled our nation into a level of needed consciousness and action in the past, it is my sincere hope that the tragic death of George Floyd will forever be our reminder that the work towards reform, healing and reconciliation is not a one time event. We must continue this work if we ever hope to truly be one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”

Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock:

“First and foremost, I’m thinking about George Floyd’s children and his family, and I’m thankful that they received something that approaches justice today after the trauma they’ve endured—one we’ve seen visited upon Black people and communities of color time and time again, and that never becomes less painful.

“Today’s verdict affirming Derek Chauvin’s responsibility for killing George Floyd is the right outcome in this trial, but it is not justice for George Floyd, who should still be here with us, nor for his family and community, who have suffered an immeasurable loss.

“We know that there cannot be healing without justice, and likewise, we still have much work to do in the Senate not only to create true justice that prevents more senseless killings of Black people, but to push our system closer to our ideals of equal protection under the law. That’s why reforming policing on the federal level is so imperative, and why Congress must pass legislation like the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act that will help end this cycle of violence and bend the moral arc of the universe closer to justice.

“As a voice for Georgians in the Senate, and as a Black man, I hope today’s verdict is the beginning of a turning point in our country where people who have seen this trauma over and over again will know it is possible to have equal protection under the law. And in the meantime, I’m going to continue pushing with everything I can to make sure our federal government honors people’s humanity and recognizes their citizenship—whether it’s at the polls, or during their interactions with police.”

Sen. Jon Ossoff:

“George Floyd’s murderer has been convicted, but brutality and racial bias will persist in our justice system until we enact reform. I am urging my colleagues in the Senate to pass criminal justice reform that will ensure public safety, rebuild trust between communities and law enforcement, and secure equal justice for all.”

The Carter Center:

Rep. Hank Johnson:

“Today, justice has been served. The prosecution scored a slam dunk and the jury agreed. As prosecutor Jerry Blackwell said during closing arguments: ‘while some believe George Floyd died from an enlarged heart, he actually died because ex-officer Derek Chauvin’s heart was too small.’ While today we recognize that justice was served, one case will not change broken-taillight policing in Black and brown communities. We must continue our work to reform the police and pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. As members of Congress, we must continue to advance reform of our criminal justice system and pass police accountability legislation. We must act now to halt the brutal injustice of police misconduct, the taking of lives, or George Floyd will have died in vain.”

ACLU of Georgia:

“Across the state of Georgia people stood up and demanded justice for George Floyd. This verdict is an affirmation that democracy can be made to work. The impact of Mr. Floyd will be felt across our state in the new elected officials who were inspired to run on platforms of police and criminal justice system reform and the voters who marched from the streets to the voting booth and supported policy reform,” said Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia.”

Rep. Nikema Williams:

“Today’s guilty verdict is a pivotal moment for policing in America. The conviction of Derek Chauvin sends the message that we can and will hold officers accountable. But, it’s important to note this is only the beginning. This one case, this instance of justice, is what is deserved and overdue for so many other families. “Although nothing can bring George Floyd back, my hope is that his family can find some solace in knowing that justice was served. “We are done dying.”

Democratic Party of Georgia:

“This guilty verdict only confirms what we already know – that police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd, an innocent Black man, in cold blood. Though this verdict is one step towards justice, it will not bring back George Floyd, nor the countless Black Americans killed at the hands of law enforcement. I am praying for the Floyd family as they continue grieving their insurmountable loss, and I am praying for the country as we heal from this national tragedy and carry on in the march towards justice and equality. This verdict does not signal the end of our work – it is only just the beginning.”

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert:

“This past year, we have witnessed traumatizing instances of police brutality that Black Americans disproportionately experience, with the murder of George Floyd at the forefront of the conversation. While this verdict represents a step toward justice, we are reminded that justice is too often not the outcome for people of color. The WNBA/WNBPA Social Justice Council will continue its work to combat injustice and inequality in our country and hope this represents a true turning point for how the effects of systemic racism begin to be addressed. We stand with all those who have felt the deep impact of George Floyd’s death.”

Atlanta City Council Member Antonio Brown:

“Today begins the required change of a criminal justice system that has failed Black people for far too long. Thank you to the jury who stood on the right side of justice – making history! I am hopeful this is a turning point in accountability for police officers.”

Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux:

“Tonight, the family and loved ones of George Floyd can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing justice has been served in his tragic death. Though there is comfort in knowing Derek Chauvin will be punished according to the law, this verdict will not bring back George Floyd. Nor will it erase any of the other instances of police brutality Black men and women have been forced to endure. Our work is not done, and in George Floyd’s name — and those of all who have suffered — we must march onward. Now it’s time to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.”

The Atlanta Hawks:

“Today, inside a courthouse in Minneapolis, our nation saw legal justice served. While this verdict can never fully bring solace to the loved ones of George Floyd, it is a start in their healing and that of the entire Black community that continues to grieve his loss and countless others at the hands of senseless brutality. Last summer, the Hawks made a commitment to stand against racism and injustice and to continue denouncing the broken systems that contributed to this moment. We remain committed to being a part of the solution and using our platform to move us toward a more accepting, anti-racist society.”

Georgia Legislative Black Caucus:

“The Georgia Legislative Black Caucus appreciates that justice was served today with Derek Chauvin being found guilty on all three counts for the death of George Floyd. We pray the family and friends of Mr. Floyd can find a modicum of peace and closure.

“Yes, as Black lawmakers we are not satisfied with one victory when this month, 20-year-old Duante Wright was killed just 12 miles from Minneapolis and 13-year-old Adam Toledo was killed last week in Chicago, both by law enforcement officers.

“We have a collective responsibility to reform law enforcement and the criminal justice system. Freedom and justice do not belong to a few, but to all who call this beautiful country home. The work continues.”