State leaders react to Chauvin guilty verdict, discuss next steps

Lancaster

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — State leaders are reacting to former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin being found guilty of second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.

Many of them are saying while the jury got it right, more needs to be done to make sure what happened to George Floyd never happens again.

Sen. Bob Casey said in a statement, “True justice will come when Congress passes the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and other measures to begin to right the wrongs created by systemic racism and injustice.”

Sen. Pat Toomey said, “My sympathies remain with the Floyd family. While nothing can cure the hurt the Floyd family lives with every day, I do hope this verdict brings them a degree of solace.”

The jury deliberated for about 10 and a half hours over two days, before the judge announced the verdict Tuesday.

Governor Tom Wolf said, “The work of changing policing, of fighting for racial justice, of ending centuries of discriminatory and traumatic policymaking, is hard and painful. It is also, above all, necessary…We must reaffirm our commitment to doing the hard work to address injustice and inequality in every community across the nation.”

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said, “Let us resolve to continue our collective efforts to combat structural racism, in all its forms, and in all institutions so that we may achieve real and lasting justice.”

U.S. Senate candidate and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta said regardless of the verdict, “our work to dismantle systemic racism at every level of our society – especially the criminal justice system – is far from over. “

The verdict comes almost a year after thousands of people protested across the country, and in Central Pennsylvania, echoing large calls for change.

“We’ve always said in our democracy that you’re going to be judged by your peers, and that jury makeup was represented of the community where the offense occurred, and that’s an encouraging thing to see those people come together and be united and believing and seeing with their own eyes what they saw,” said Joseph Robinson Jr. the president of the Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Development Institute.

“We all saw with our own eyes what happened,” said Devon Jacob, a civil rights attorney from Mechanicsburg who was part of the team that negotiated the $27 million settlement for the Floyd family. “There’s no question what we saw happen was unlawful. The jury definitely had a monumental task because the entire nation was watching. Frankly, the entire world was watching.”

“My immediate reaction was to breathe a huge sigh of relief,” said Ismail Smith-Wade-El, the president of the Lancaster City Council. “I sobbed a little bit, and then I immediately had to work.”

“I’m feeling emotional,” said Blanding Watson, the president of the Lancaster NAACP. “Excited the jury did its job and justice was served.”

Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison.

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