LANSING – The Michigan Legislative Black Caucus (MLBC) applauds yesterday’s jury verdicts that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. As a result, Mr. Chauvin, who pressed his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds now faces a maximum of 40 years in prison.
“This is one of those moments in history the world was watching, Black America in particular, so the guilty verdict in the murder of George Floyd, a defenseless Black Man at the hands of law enforcement, gave us hope that justice and humanity had its day this time, stated Sen. Marshall Bullock, MLBC chairman.. “We will continue to stand for justice and accountability, for too many times the system has failed us in the Black community. Going back to the days of Emmet Till, to our current state of affairs in this country, too often we must fight systemic racism on top of implicit biases. May this signal a significant change in our judicial system for the greater good and we continue to pray for the Floyd family.”
MLBC thanks everyone who spoke out and marched in protest of Mr. Floyd’s death, but reminds the public that we must keep fighting if we want to see sustained and enduring change in America. We must continue the struggle to end the vestiges of Jim Crow, and centuries of systemic racism and hate.
MLBC also reaffirms its commitment to work with state officials, local leaders and community advocates to continue to address issues of police reform, racial injustice and other systemic inequalities in the United States.
“Today, we saw a glimmer of hope in rectifying injustice. Today we saw accountability in the jury’s verdict,” said State Senator Erika Geiss, MLBC Executive Vice Chair. “Accountability, however, is just one step on the path to justice. Justice is in a wholesale reformation of unjust systems—and that is what we must continue to strive for and work on,” she added.
MLBC members have introduced a series of bills designed to enhance police accountability and citizen oversight. We urge our colleagues to give those bills impartial hearings, and allow them to be considered as we work towards a criminal justice system that is anti-racist, fair and balanced.