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Minnesota v. Chauvin: The Legal Community Reacts

The aftermath of the verdict in the State of Minnesota v. Derek Michael Chauvin included both praise for the criminal justice system as well as calls for it to be completely reformed.

george floyd 5342710 640The reactions to Chauvin’s guilty verdict—the ex-Minneapolis police officer was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter for the killing of George Floyd—are complex, and at times may even feel a little counterintuitive.

The National Fraternal Order of Police lauded the decision, which will likely mean decades behind bars for an ex-cop, while the NAACP took a somber tone as it called for further action to improve race relations in the U.S.

“While justice landed Derek Chauvin behind bars for murdering George Floyd, no amount of justice will bring Gianna’s father back. The same way a reasonable police officer would never suffocate an unarmed man to death, a reasonable justice system would recognize its roots in white supremacy and end qualified immunity,” Derrick Johnson, CEO and President of the NAACP, said in a statement. “Police are here to protect, not lynch. We will not rest until all in our community have the right to breathe.”

The Fraternal Order of Police, on the other hand, expressed satisfaction with the outcome, saying “our system of justice has worked as it should.”

“The trial was fair and due process was served. We hope and expect that all of our fellow citizens will respect the rule of law and remain peaceful tonight and in the days to come,” reads a statement from the labor organization.

From Twitter:

Yamiche Alcindor @Yamiche

"Attorney General Merrick Garland is expected to announce that the Justice Department is opening a sweeping investigation into policing practices in Minneapolis after the guilty verdict in George Floyd’s death.
https://apnews.com/article/george-floyd-verdict-police-reform-doj-e24dd1a390a781af3495fa1e0271f492"

The American Bar Association landed somewhere in the middle, saying that “a single verdict is neither an indictment of all law enforcement nor a solution to the systemic inequities in our justice system.”

“Our society relies on the rule of law and the principle that laws must be applied and enforced fairly and without bias. A verdict may bring some justice, but it does not return George Floyd to his family,” ABA President Patricia Lee Refo said in a statement. “While we have made great progress, the nation still must address the injustices, violence and racism that exist in our legal system that disproportionately and negatively affect people of color.”

Race relations in the U.S. has been in the spotlight recently as elected officials, advocates and law enforcement agencies have grappled with ways to improve police-community relations in the wake of several high-profile incidents.

President Joe Biden, who called the killing a “murder in the full light of day,” said he is asking the Justice Department to do just that. To that end, Biden said he has appointed leadership in the Justice Department that is committed to the idea of restoring trust between communities and the law enforcement agencies that serve those communities.

“[Floyd’s murder] …ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see the systemic racism… that is a stain [on] our nation’s soul; the knee on the neck of justice for Black Americans; the profound fear and trauma, the pain, the exhaustion that Black and brown Americans experience every single day,” Biden said.

Biden announced two new Department of Justice nominees, Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke, who he described as “eminently qualified, highly respected lawyers who have spent their entire careers fighting to advance racial equity and justice.”

Floyd’s case was originally filed in Hennepin County District Court last year on May 29.

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