Police chiefs across the country are hailing the guilty verdict handed down to former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on Tuesday.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, who testified against Chauvin, thanked the jurors on the case Wednesday “for their immense responsibility and honorable civic duty.”
Statement From Chief Arradondo (April 20, 2021) pic.twitter.com/GO6PLEYfmv
— Minneapolis Police (@MinneapolisPD) April 21, 2021
“The verdict has been read and I respect the process and the decision,” his statement read.
During the trial, Arradondo said Chauvin violated department policy when he kneeled on George Floyd’s neck.
“That action is not de-escalation,” Arradondo said, according to Fox News. “And when we talk about the framework of our sanctity of life and when we talk about our principles and the values that we have, that action goes contrary to what we are talking about.”
Medaria Arradondo, the Minneapolis police chief, testified on Monday that Derek Chauvin violated policy and should have halted his use of force to restrain George Floyd after Floyd had stopped resisting. https://t.co/lBJXvBVy7o pic.twitter.com/HNIo1bg8RO
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 6, 2021
“And clearly, when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force, to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back, that in no way, shape, or form is anything that is by policy, it is not part of our training and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values.”
Other police chiefs and officials also spoke up.
New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said “justice has been served” following the guilty verdict.
Justice has been served. NYPD will be out tonight to ensure that peaceful demonstrations have the ability to proceed safely.
— Commissioner Shea (@NYPDShea) April 20, 2021
San Francisco Chief of Police William Scott said the guilty verdict was still not the final step in the death of George Floyd, noting those in “criminal justice roles” should “rise to this moment” and make changes.
“As guardians of the communities we’re sworn to protect and serve, our task is to embrace the principle of safety with respect – respect for human dignity, respect for the sanctity of life, and respect for what our communities are demanding of us,” Scott said. “Those of us entrusted with the responsibility of law enforcement must build trust where we have it, restore trust where we’ve lost it, and earn trust where we’ve never had it.” (RELATED: Most Republicans Agree With Derek Chauvin’s Guilty Verdict, Poll Finds)
(2/4) As guardians of the communities we’re sworn to protect and serve, our task is to embrace the principle of safety with respect — respect for human dignity, respect for the sanctity of life, and respect for what our communities are demanding of us.
— SFPD Chief Scott (@SFPDChief) April 20, 2021
Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter Tuesday for the death of George Floyd.
Ulster County, New York Sheriff Juan J. Figueroa said the “reckless unwarranted murder of people of color at the hands of law enforcement should not ever be tolerated” in a statement.
“This tragedy has caused us all to look in the mirror and find ways to respect human life and our need for dignity,” he continued. “The beginning of a transformation of our entire criminal justice system must continue and we must remember that we all have a personal responsibility for our actions. The history of law enforcement encounters with black and brown people is well documented. Let us address and change these attitudes.”
The Seattle Police Department called Floyd’s death a “watershed moment for this country” and said “the events of the past year have made clear the community’s expectations of what police work should be,” noting the Seattle Police Department banned neck restraints, chokeholds and no-knock warrants.
Madison, Wisconsin’s Police Chief Shon Barnes said justice prevailed.
“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,” Barnes said. “I am hopeful that this decision will help our communities heal and will create new opportunities to work and grow together.”
Despite pledges from police precincts across the country to do better, some are still worried Chauvin’s verdict is not enough.
Activist Isaac Wallner said he still doesn’t feel safe in his hometown of Kenosha, Wisconsin, where no officers have been charged in the death of Jacob Blake, according to The Associated Press.
“Until that day happens when police are afraid to abuse their badge, I’ll continue to be afraid of the police,” he reportedly said. “As of right now, they’re not afraid because too many of them have gotten off.”
Fifty-five percent of Republicans, and over 70% of people in general, agreed with the verdict, according to a USA Today/Ipsos snap poll released Wednesday.