Tuesday afternoon a Minneapolis found police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on three charges resulting from the killing of George Floyd.
Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. His bail was revoked and he was handcuffed and led from the courtroom.
As social media exploded with the new, few Tennessee elected officials with statements. Of the state’s nine representatives in Congress, only three — U.S. Reps. Jim Cooper, D-5, Mark Green, R-7, and Steve Cohen, D-9—acknowledged the conviction via Twitter.
On the state level, the House and Senate Democratic Caucus leaders issued a joint statement, below, and Rep. Antonio Parksinson, D-Memphis, issued a strongly-word statement about the trial and verdict.
“Quit saying justice was served! It wasn’t!,” Parkinson said in his statement. “Yes, we are thankful that the family of George Floyd received guilty verdicts. But justice was not served.”
Parkinson’s full statement is published below.
U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-District 5
U.S. Rep. Mark Green, R-District 7
Derek Chauvin had 17 misconduct investigations before he took the life of George Floyd. It’s clear Chauvin’s actions were sickening and irrefutable—he was a bad cop. Today’s decision is justice for the Floyd family.
U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-District 9
The jury has spoken. Justice has been served.
Sen. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis, Senate Democratic Caucus Leader and Rep. Vincent Dixie, D-Nashville, House Democratic Caucus Leader
A Minneapolis jury affirmed what should be true in all of America: Police brutality is illegal and no one is above the law.
“But George Floyd’s young daughter is still without her father. While this verdict is a new opportunity for healing and a relief for communities that have been rejected by the courts time and time again, we still have to confront the horrific culture of police brutality and ensure that accountability is the standard, not the exception.
Sen. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville
Rep. Antonio Parkinson, D-Memphis
Stop saying justice was served! It wasn’t!
Yes, we are thankful that the family of George Floyd received guilty verdicts. But justice was not served. The guilty verdicts simply pointed out that Derek Chauvin is a murderer. But the verdicts will not bring George Floyd back. The verdicts won’t even take the life of Derek Chauvin.
While guilty verdicts were delivered in the George Floyd case, there are many more unarmed black people in America who have been murdered at the hands of law enforcement and others and have yet to receive or will never receive justice in America. The very fact that we are even having to hold our breath as we wait for a verdict speaks to the cancer of racism that plagues America even more than that of the pandemic.
Until the life of a black American holds the same value as that of a white American, there is no justice. America has a human rights issue before it. How can we judge other countries like China, countries in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world, when we have yet to address the human rights of black people in America?
Hedy Weinberg, Executive Director, ACLU of Tennessee
Today’s historic verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin brings rare accountability for police. However, one verdict will not ensure transformative justice. Achieving this outcome for George Floyd is only the first step in addressing police abuse of power, disparate treatment, and the use of excessive force against Black and Brown communities dating back to police departments’ inception as slave patrols created to monitor, control, and oppress Black communities.
“If we are ever to end this violence, we must also re-examine approaches to public safety. We must transform policing in Tennessee – ensuring alternatives to armed police officers responding to every situation, increasing accountability and transparency, and creating policies that combat racism in policing. We must remove police from low-level enforcement and reinvest in the communities that too often bear the brunt of police discrimination, harassment and violence.
“We remain committed in our fight to end racist police violence, and to ensure fair treatment, systemic equity and true justice for all Tennesseans.”
(Featured photo: George Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams (left) raises hands in triumph with civil rights attorney Ben Crump after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter on April 20, 2021. Photo by Max Nesterak/Minnesota Reformer.)