Police chiefs hail Chauvin verdict as a key step to healing
Not long after a jury convicted former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin of killing George Floyd, police chiefs across the U.S. started speaking up. And it wasn’t to defend the police.
New Orleans Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said convicting Chauvin on Tuesday showed “police officers are not above the law.” Charmaine McGuffey, the sheriff in Cincinnati, said it was a “necessary step” in healing a nation torn apart by police violence. Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo encouraged Americans to breathe “a collective sigh of relief.”
Law enforcement leaders said Chauvin’s conviction was a step toward restoring trust in the criminal justice system and repairing relations between police and the communities they serve. It was a major departure from years past, when even the highest levels would close rank around an officer following an on-duty killing.
But police leaders and activists alike cautioned that a single case will not end systemic racism or stamp out excessive force in departments nationwide.
“The American justice system has not always served all of her people well, and the death of George Floyd is a shocking example of where we can fail each other,” said Madison, Wisconsin, Police Chief Shon Barnes, the city’s first Black police leader. “As an officer of the law, I believe that today justice has prevailed. We hear you. This moment matters.”
At Chauvin’s trial, jurors saw video from bystanders and police body-worn cameras and heard witnesses describe how the white officer pinned his knee to Floyd’s neck as the Black man cried out, “I can’t breathe.”
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testified against Chauvin, breaking the “blue wall of silence” that has long shrouded accountability around police wrongdoing. Arradondo told jurors that Chauvin’s conduct violated department policy, went against training and “is certainly not part of our ethics or our values.”…..read more
Source: AP News