The jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd in 2020, found him guilty Tuesday on all three charges he faced: second degree unintentional murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.
The murder of Floyd sparked racial justice protests across America last year and spurred a national reckoning on racism in government. Thousands of Mississippians took to the streets to protest racial injustices, including the June Black Lives Matter rally in Jackson which many historians believe was the largest Mississippi civil rights demonstration since the 1960s.
The movement inspired several changes in Mississippi, including the legislative decision to change the state flag, which flew for 126 years and prominently featured the Confederate battle emblem.
Here are reactions from Mississippi leaders on the verdict. This article will be updated.
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, Democratic congressmen representing Mississippi’s 2nd congressional district: “May this verdict be a step forward in the fight for equity and justice for all. May the family of George Floyd be at peace with the jury’s decision.”
Derrick Johnson, president/CEO of NAACP and Mississippi native: “We will not rest until all in our community have the right to breathe.”
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba: “No action can restore the life of George Floyd to his family. I’m grateful for the statement that this verdict makes to those who seek to kill us and deny us humanity, but we are still grieving that it came at the cost of the life of a father, brother, son, and friend. What gives me hope is not the verdict, but the folks on the ground who supported the Floyd family, raised funds, educated, and demanded justice. If there is anything to be celebrated, it is that work. May we remember George Floyd as more than a symbol of the injustices we suffer.”
Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State University: “The death of George Floyd demanded justice. Police have a fundamental duty to protect and safeguard the rights of all citizens. As I said a year ago, racism is evil. It is a sin. We must replace this evil with the good. Our task, I believe, is to ensure to the best of our abilities that we have far more good than evil in the hopes that good will drown out evil.” (Click here to read Keenum’s full statement.)