MEPs said on Wednesday that justice had prevailed after Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds last May, was found guilty of his murder.
Floyd’s killing led to widespread Black Lives Matter protests in the United States and around the world and there had been concern that anything other than a guilty verdict on Tuesday would have triggered unrest.
Instead, the verdict of guilty on all charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter that was handed down by the jury after just ten hours of deliberation was met by cheers and celebrations in Minneapolis as crowds gathered to hear the verdict.
US President Joe Biden said of the verdict, “while nothing can ever bring George Floyd back, this can be a giant step forward on the march towards justice in America.”
He said that while the verdict sent the message that no one is above the law, in order to deliver real change and reform more must be done to reduce the likelihood that tragedies like this ever occur.
“There’s meaningful police reform legislation in George Floyd’s name, but it shouldn’t take a year to get it done. I assured the Floyd family that we’re going to continue to fight for the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act so I can sign it into law right away,” Biden added.
“This is the first step to accountability. The work continues. Justice needs to be served in order to change the system and remove institutional racism from our societies” Samira Rafaela, Renew Europe
On this side of the Atlantic, MEPs also hailed Chauvin’s conviction on all counts in Floyd’s murder.
The Renew Europe group said in a statement, “We welcome that justice has been served for the shocking murder of George Floyd. Once again, we call for action to tackle systemic racism in Europe. This also means ensuring EU institutions are reflective of the communities they serve.”
Belgian Renew Europe deputy Hilde Vautmans, a member of Parliament’s Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup (ARDI) said that justice had spoken, while fellow Renew Europe and ARDI member Samira Rafaela said, “This is the first step to accountability. The work continues. Justice needs to be served in order to change the system and remove institutional racism from our societies.”
A statement from The Left said, “George Floyd was murdered, nothing can change that for his loved ones. But this news is at least some welcome accountability for a horrific crime and the so-called ‘justice’ system that enabled it. The fight for racial justice goes on.”
Irish The Left group deputy Luke Flanagan simply tweeted. “Justice #RIPGeorgeFloyd”
German S&D member Tiemo Wölken said, “We all know that this judgment does not end racism, but there is hope.”
“George Floyd was murdered, nothing can change that for his loved ones. But this news is at least some welcome accountability for a horrific crime and the so-called ‘justice’ system that enabled it. The fight for racial justice goes on”
The Left group
Finnish Greens MEP Ville Niinistö called the verdict “historic in the United States”, adding, “Justice will not prevail until discrimination and police violence against blacks come to an end. This judgment is a big first step.”
Greens colleague Diana Riba i Giner said that Chauvin’s conviction for the murder of George Floyd was “a long-awaited drop of justice in an ocean of racial injustice.”
“This verdict must set a precedent in the United States where, well into the 21st century, the highest wall of all is still skin colour.”