Police chiefs and leading law enforcement officials across the U.S. said Derek Chauvin’s conviction will help mend communal relations and confidence in the criminal justice system, the Associated Press reported Friday.
Law enforcement officials said the jury’s decision to convict the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd is a step in the right direction and acknowledged there is still work to be done, the AP reported.
Chauvin’s conviction demonstrated “police officers are not above the law,” New Orleans Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said, the AP reported. Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo said Americans can breathe “a collective sigh of relief” following the conviction.
It’s time to reimagine policing and public safety, and the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the 2020 killing of George Floyd is a step in the right direction for police accountability. Here are other actions needed: https://t.co/XWVdNqR8wo pic.twitter.com/Kq3yt6RhaY
— YWCA USA (@YWCAUSA) April 21, 2021
Previously, high-ranking law enforcement officials expressed support for officers involved in on-duty killings, the AP reported. Police officials and activists said a single verdict won’t address nationwide systemic problems like racism and excessive use of force within departments.
“The American justice system has not always served all of her people well, and the death of George Floyd is a shocking example of where we can fail each other,” Madison, Wisconsin, Police Chief Shon Barnes said, the AP reported. “As an officer of the law, I believe that today justice has prevailed. We hear you. This moment matters.”
Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Floyd died after Chauvin knelt on his neck for over nine minutes during an arrest in May 2020, video shows.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testified against Chauvin and told jurors he disregarded his training and department policy while apprehending Floyd, the AP reported. Chauvin’s conduct “is certainly not part of our ethics or our values,” Arradondo said.
In response to activists calling for police reform or abolition, some police departments banned chokeholds and implemented timelines to release body-camera footage of fatal incidents, the AP reported. Some state lawmakers have also considered police reform bills.