NYC Public Advocate's Statement On The Verdict In The Trial Of Derek Chauvin

April 20th, 2021

Press Release

"As they receive some semblance of justice, or at least accountability, I feel the pain of George Floyd's family. The perpetual pain of Blacks in America from a wound that never really has time to scar over, much less heal, before it is again ripped open by a headline, a video, a verdict. So while I'm relieved the jury reached the right decision, that Derek Chauvin will face consequences, I'm not celebrating. It's hard to truly breathe a sigh of relief when George Floyd cannot. Derek Chauvin is guilty, but George Floyd is dead.

"That this verdict was ever in doubt, amid overwhelming evidence, is itself evidence of the reality that to some, Black lives matter less than white privilege. That this trial could not pass without another senseless police killing of an unarmed Black man in Minneapolis is evidence that the moral arc's bend toward justice still stretches long before us. But the verdict gives us some hope that if we persist, we may persevere.

"Our systems, our government leaders, have long given tacit permission to people like Derek Chauvin, George Zimmerman, and Daniel Pantaleo, condoning the deaths of Black people rather than condemning their killers. Waving their hands at injustices and washing their hands of the consequences

"In nearly a year since George Floyd was killed, a movement for justice and equity of a scope unlike we've seen in decades has swept the country. I am proud of the movement, immensely proud that it continues to put pressure on the powerful, and immensely frustrated by the reluctance of those with power to use it to deliver change. While there has been progress in some areas which are worthy of recognition and even celebration, most are overdue and underdelivered, falling far short of the need to fundamentally redefine public safety.

"I'm glad for today's verdict, but I'm not okay. Still, and likely for a long time, as the Black community waits for the justice and equity promised but never delivered. And I'll continue to join the protests that will undoubtedly fill the streets, because we are not okay, and too many people, systems, institutions are okay with that."

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