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Black LGBTQ+ Notables See Justice in Chauvin's Murder Convictions

George Floyd protest
Via Shutterstock

LGBTQ+ activists welcomed the verdict, where the former police officer was found guilty of murdering George Floyd, but said more must be done.

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all counts Tuesday in the death of George Floyd.

A jury convicted the white officer of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. He was videotaped last May with his knee on the neck of Floyd, a Black man who was accused of passing a counterfeit bill at a convenience store. Floyd died after protesting that he couldn't breathe. Floyd's death led to a summer of demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism, and a national conversation on the subject.

Chauvin will be sentenced eight weeks from now, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill said. The former officer faces up to 40 years in prison on the second-degree murder charge, up to 25 years for third-degree murder, and up to 10 years for second-degree manslaughter, CNN reports.

Andrea Jenkins, the Black transgender woman who is vice president of the Minneapolis City Council, addressed a crowd gathered at George Floyd Square after the verdicts were released. "The tragic death of Daunte Wright [the Black man killed by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, a Minneapolis suburb] is still top of people's minds, and the trial of the other three officers are coming up," she said, according to Minnesota Public Radio. "But conviction all counts against Derek Chauvin is, first and foremost, I think a victory that gives hope for our community." Jenkins represents Ward 8, which includes the site of Floyd's death.

She also tweeted about the verdict, as did another Black trans City Council member, Phillipe Cunningham.

Other LGBTQ+ activists and officeholders, many of them people of color, quickly issued statements responding to the verdict.

"Today's conviction in the trial of Derek Chauvin is a powerful moment of justice for George Floyd, his loved ones, and millions of America who saw this tragedy unfold with their own eyes," said Malcolm Kenyatta, a Pennsylvania state representative and candidate for U.S. Senate. "It has sadly been a rare occurrence in American history for an abusive and criminal police officer to be held accountable for murdering a Black person, and I hope today's verdict sends an important message that no one is above the law. But regardless of today's verdict, our work to dismantle systemic racism at every level of our society -- especially the criminal justice system -- is far from over. Every day, Black and brown people continue to be unfairly targeted by police and have to worry about whether their lives are at risk simply for existing. We have to come together to acknowledge and fight back against the discrimination and violence being faced by communities of color every day and push for necessary reform in every police department from coast to coast."

"In finding Derek Chauvin guilty of murder, the jury has ensured that he is held accountable for his heinous, unconscionable crime," said U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones of New York. "But let me be clear, this verdict is not full justice, for in a just world, George Floyd would still be alive. In a just world, Adam Toledo and Daunte Wright would be in their mothers' arms right now. In a just world, we would not be faced with a near-daily onslaught of officers assaulting, harassing, and murdering Black people simply for existing. It is time that we address the violence of systemic racism in America in its totality. ... That starts by fundamentally reimagining policing in America to center the dignity, humanity, and safety of all people, and especially Black and brown people. This project starts with passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement officers, end chokeholds and no-knock warrants, and create the first-ever national registry of police misconduct. I'm proud to have helped pass this bill in the House, but now the Senate majority must do its job. Still, it would only be the beginning.Today, we take solace in this verdict and honor George Floyd's memory. Tomorrow, we get back to work to create a truly just America for all."

"Today, humanity won over indifference," said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David. "This verdict will not bring George Floyd back, but it does hold one officer accountable for the killing of one Black person. George Floyd's story has inspired a movement around the world for racial justice. While we welcome exercising police accountability as a crucial step towards dismantling abusive, discriminatory policing, we also know that there is more work to be done to protect all Black lives. We should take a solemn moment to grieve with the Floyd family, as we pursue the systemic change necessary to end police killings of Black people and to remove the structures that support white supremacy from our society once and for all."

"We are relieved that George Floyd's killer was convicted for his actions, but this is one trial for one murder," said a statement from the LGBTQ Victory Fund and Victory Institute. "True justice would be George Floyd returning home to his family last May and an erasure of the trauma caused by his death. True justice is an end to police killings of Black and brown people and a national commitment to end systemic racism and white supremacy. But this is a step toward justice, and history proves these steps cannot be taken for granted. George Floyd has ignited a movement that continues to inspire and has forced many to look at themselves, and their country, more critically. Today is a step -- one of many needed -- on the long road to true justice for Black Americans."

"This verdict is validation of the deep-rooted problem of systemic racism, but far from justice served," said Brian Bond, executive director of PFLAG National. "There is so much more work to be done. It only starts with this national conversation that has finally been elevated around policing and racism in this country -- and it is incumbent upon all of us to be engaged. George Floyd died at the hands of discrimination-based violence, that made his life less important for police to serve and protect than others. This is wrong and PFLAG National, along with hundreds of thousands of PFLAGers across the country, will continue to fight for the lives and rights of Black people and against systemic racism and bias-based violence."

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said, "The verdicts convicting Derek Chauvin deliver some accountability for his actions. They now must lead us toward greater safety and trust, especially for Black people, queer people of color and transgender people and youth who are disproportionately at risk of harassment, discrimination and violence, including violence by police. The deaths of George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Breonna Taylor, Adam Toledo and far too many others must motivate urgent change to address racial bias and prevent deadly force. Every American from a vulnerable community has a right to demand these necessary changes by protest, and the media must be free to cover these critically important social justice movements. Our hearts are with George Floyd's family and all who grieve his loss throughout the traumatizing trial and beyond."

Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings added, "We are pleased that justice was served today, and Derek Chauvin will be held responsible for the death of George Floyd. We know, however, that there is more work to do to ensure what we all watched happen on video to George Floyd never happens again. We celebrate this bittersweet victory while knowing that George Floyd's family will never get him back and knowing that other families are still awaiting justice. "We know that one verdict does not reverse this truth: we live in a nation where people of color -- even 12-year-old children like Tamir Rice -- are routinely killed with impunity by those who are supposed to protect them. Today's verdict is but a tiny step towards holding the individuals and system responsible for this accountable. We mourn George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, and every victim of police violence. We recommit to continuing to work for racial justice and fairer laws. Lambda Legal has a long history of standing up against misconduct by police and other government officials. We will continue to work with our sibling LGBTQ organizations and other civil rights organizations to fight to make sure that police are properly protecting and serving all the public, including LGBTQ people and people living with HIV."

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