St. Louis leaders react to Derek Chauvin trial verdict

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ST. LOUIS – St. Louis area leaders are reacting after Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all counts in the death of George Floyd.

The historic verdict has some local leaders saying it’s symbolic of a step toward accountability and change for the country.

The country listened in on the verdict Tuesday afternoon for the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes. 45-year-old Chauvin seemingly sat calmly without much response as the judge declared him guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Tears of joy and cries of relief came immediately once the verdict was read.

A small group gathered for a peaceful protest in St. Louis at Market Street and Tucker following the verdict.

Many leaders have issued public statements expressing a feeling of hope for change in the future and the desire to repair the fragile relationship between police officers and those who they swear to protect and serve.

“Now is the time to begin the process of mending the broken relationship which exists between our Department and the community that we serve,” St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Chief John Hayden said.

The Ethical Society of Police also issued a statement.

“We need a change in law enforcement policy. We need a change that recognizes minorities as productive citizens in society. We need change to end this systemic racism,” the Ethical Society of Police said.

Newly sworn-in St. Louis City Mayor Tishaura Jones also reacted to the verdict. 

“Today, justice has been served in George Floyd’s murder. I am relieved to see that we are finally seeing the consequences for when our officers, who are sworn to protect and serve the people, violate the trust of those people,” Jones said. “We will not become complacent, though, as we have plenty of work to do to continue transforming the Department of Public Safety to rebuild the relationship with our communities.”  

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