In the aftermath of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin being found guilty on all three charges in the death of George Floyd last summer, local leaders shared their thoughts on the conviction — most of which involved a sense of relief and at least some justice being served.
Meanwhile, there were reports on social media of crowds gathering in the streets throughout the city Tuesday night to cheer the jury's finding, and demand more change in the future. A group that started in Manhattan's Foley Square blocked traffic as they marched north, while another demonstration took place outside Barclays Center — a central gathering spot during last summer's protests following Floyd's death. The group in Brooklyn was said to be marching along Flatbush Avenue toward Grand Army Plaza. A small group that started in Times Square also marched along West 47th Street, while later in the night streets near Washington Square Park were closed off due to the demonstrations.
Some of the marches made their way from Brooklyn to Manhattan, prompting delays and partial closings on the Brooklyn Bridge around 9 p.m., the NYPD said in a tweet. The bridge was reopened a short time later. Another group also blocked traffic on the Manhattan Bridge. No arrests were reported from any of the demonstrations Tuesday night.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio reflected on the protests last summer that were sparked by Floyd's death, saying it showed the "pain of more than 400 years of injustice." And while he celebrated the result of the trial, he said that lawmakers must continue to "create real reforms in policing and make a safer country for all Americans."
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New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray said that Chauvin "sullied an entire profession and enraged people of good will around the world ... This trial is more than the judgement of Derek Chauvin and only one fight in a long, long battle against inequity and injustice."
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement that the guilty verdicts were a "powerful statement of accountability" that can give Floyd's family "well-deserved closure," he also noted that "accountability is not the same as justice." New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy echoed those sentiments, saying that he is "glad that justice has prevailed in this case" but noted "systemic racism is still pervasive in American life."
New York and New Jersey Senators Chuck Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, who is leading the effort to get the George Floyd bill on police reform passed in the Senate, also cheered the result while calling for more.
"True justice demands action — it demands change & that we do everything we can to stop this from happening again & again & again," Booker said in a tweet.
Some of the NYC mayoral candidates vying for the Democratic nomination also weighed in, including Scott Stringer, who said "the fact that this verdict was anything but a foregone conclusion tells you everything you need to know about how our justice system devalues Black lives ... while today's verdict is commendable, our fight for justice is far from over."
Both Shaun Donovan and Kathryn Garcia said they hoped the verdict offered some degree of closure and healing to the Floyd family, but also said more work needed to be done.
Andrew Yang, Eric Adams, Ray McGuire and Maya Wiley also all offered their thoughts:
The New Jersey State Policeman's Benevolent Association said that the conviction "ends a very difficult time in our nation's history," and that Chauvin's actions that led to Floyd's death "were contrary to our training in New jersey and does not represent who we are."
Here's reaction from others who voiced their support, and said their mission is not yet over: