Here's How Leaders In Charlotte And The Carolinas Reacted To The Derek Chauvin Guilty Verdict
WFAE reached out to local leaders and organizers for their reaction to the guilty verdict of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin over the death of George Floyd. Here’s what some of them had to say.
Charlotte Democratic Congresswoman Alma Adams
“Justice was served today, and while that will not bring back George Floyd or the countless thousands lost to state-sanctioned violence, it means the millions of Americans struggling, fighting to breathe free are closer to living in a just, beloved community. Thank you to the judge, the jurors, and the officers of the court for your work.”
Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles
I hope everyone respects the result and understands this will not be the last time we have to address a situation like this. Change is needed and we should all be a part of that change. 2/2— Mayor Vi Lyles (@CLTMayor) April 20, 2021
Kass Ottley, activist and founder of Seeking Justice CLT
“I'm just very excited, happy, emotional, just had a cry, you know, just watched so many cases, been to so many court cases and watched Lady Justice get dressed up and she's never arrived. And this is the first time that she actually showed up. I feel like this can really be a turning point. And I'm just hopeful and excited that the family got justice and not just a paycheck.”
Robert Dawkins, political director of Action NC
“It’s great. The part is, the chances of ever having another case like this to where you have the police chief, you have the police officers, you got EMS on site that didn't get a chance to intervene or you got the footage of them with a foot on George Floyd's neck. We probably will never have another incident where the evidence was so great that even though we suffer from a system of oppression and racism, that there was no way possible that he was going to be able to get off.”
The Fraternal Order of the Police in Charlotte
The Fraternal Order of the Police in Charlotte Retweeted a statement from the national FOP that said “Our system of justice has worked as it should, with prosecutors and defense presenting their evidence to the jury, which then deliberated and delivered a verdict. The trial was fair and due process was served.”
The Charlotte chapter said it had no other comment.
CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings
Only by engaging in continued constructive dialogue can law enforcement and community members strengthen relationships that are at the heart of safe communities. It will require a commitment from all of us. (2/2)— Chief Jennings (@cmpdchief) April 20, 2021
Mecklenburg Sheriff Garry McFadden
McFadden said in a statement that the jury “worked to hold Chauvin accountable for his criminal actions, we know the decision will never return Mr. Floyd to his friends, family and community.”
Anthony Foxx, former Charlotte mayor and secretary of transportation for President Obama
As Chief Ramsey said, and it bears repeating, there are many good folks in police departments all across America. This ruling is no threat to them. We still need sensible reforms that can help weed out those who are not worthy of the public’s trust. 2/2 #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd— Anthony Foxx (@anthonyfoxx) April 20, 2021
Mario Black, founder of Million Youth March of Charlotte and Salisbury
"A sense of relief, for one," he said. "When the protests broke out last year, it was just so disheartening to even watch that eight-minute video, nine-minute video of George Floyd on the ground."
Black said he's been encouraged by protests around the country and around the world against police brutality, not just by Black people, but also by white people, Asian people and people of other races and ethnicities.
"I just thank God that justice prevailed," he said. "And it's a step in the right direction. You know, we still got others that didn't get the justice that was needed. And hopefully moving forward, other families will get the justice that they deserve or need, too because we continue to see police shootings in African American community."
Charlotte City Council member Malcolm Graham
“The tape doesn’t lie," he said. "It shows exactly what happened — a police officer under the cover of uniform basically killing someone in broad daylight. I think the prosecution put on a great case. And with the tape as well as with the evidence that was presented I was optimistic the jury would come back with a guilty verdict.”
Graham compared the verdict to the O.J. Simpson trial. He said in that case the evidence also pointed to the defendant being guilty.
Gov. Roy Cooper
I appreciate the jury’s work for justice. George Floyd’s death shouldn’t have happened and we must continue to work to bring positive change to our state and country. - RC— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) April 20, 2021
Rev. William Barber
Today's three guilty verdicts in the trial of Derek Chauvin are an important public act of accountability. But any verdict on a charge of less than first-degree murder -- a charge that Chauvin did not face -- is a sign that we still have work to do.— Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II (@RevDrBarber) April 20, 2021
Barber later deleted the above tweet, removing its reference to first-degree murder, and said this instead:
Today's three guilty verdicts in the trial of Derek Chauvin are an important public act of accountability. Before the entire nation, fellow officers took the stand in this trial and testified that their colleague did not protect and serve but abused power and killed George Floyd.— Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II (@RevDrBarber) April 20, 2021
South Carolina U.S. Sen. Tim Scott
Rhiannon Giddens, musician and North Carolina native
WFAE's David Boraks and Steve Harrison contributed.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.