George Floyd Verdict: Prayers for Change
"A sobering moment for our community," said Archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Bernard Hebda, describing the situation following the conviction in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who has now been convicted on all counts as a result of his role on the death of George Floyd last spring.
"The decision of a jury of peers underscores the grief that has gripped sister cities over the past few months," Archbishop Hebda said in a statement released Tuesday night shortly after the verdict was pronounced in homes, parishes and workplaces across the country as we face together the chasm that exists between the brokenness of our world and the harmony and brotherhood that our Creator intends for all of His children. "
“We hold up once more the image of Christ crucified, whose resurrection testifies to the healing powers of forgiveness, compassion, reconciliation and peace. It is our common brotherhood with Jesus that calls us to a deeper respect for all human life, ”Archbishop Hebda continued. "We ask Him to bring healing to our communities, to comfort the family of George Floyd and all who grieve, and to satisfy those who thirst for justice."
"May the many memories of the loving closeness of the Lord inspire us, even in difficult times, to treat one another with infallible respect," said Archbishop Hebda, "to work nonviolently for the common good and to be instruments of reconciliation."
A woman holds a sign during a march following the guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin on April 20, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (ELIJAH NOUVELAGE / AFP via Getty Images)
Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts: accidental second degree murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter. The jury deliberated about 10 hours before coming back with their unanimous results. The National Fraternal Order of Police says the judicial system worked as it should, that the trial was fair, and the trial was served.
With tears on their cheeks, Rev. Al Sharpton urged George Floyd's family and friends to close their arms and pray in thanks for the work of the jury, police and lawyers that led to the guilty verdict. "Dear God, we thank you for giving us the strength to stand together," said the long-time civil rights activist.
Shortly after Judge Peter Cahill's verdict was read and upheld, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris called the Floyd family representative, attorney Ben Crump. They expressed hope that something good could come of the tragic death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. President Biden said this was just the first attempt at addressing systemic racism of the generations and he hoped Congress would pass so he could sign the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act.
"Nobody should be above the law, and today's ruling sends that message," President Biden later said before a national audience. He said that more needs to be done, "this requires recognizing and combating systemic racism in police work and more broadly." The President added that it is his hope and prayer that George Floyd's legacy will be historic, to change the world and bring more peace, in hopes of uniting Americans and ensuring that there is no safe haven for them Hatred there.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Mn) issued a statement saying that passing policing reform laws is an urgent matter for lawmakers. She promised: “We renew our commitment to safeguarding (Floyd's) legacy – not just as the man whose death shed light on the undeniable stain of racism in our country – but as the man whose memory inspires us to build a fairer system. ”
People gather as they celebrate in George Floyd Square after the verdict was pronounced in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin on April 20, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP via Getty Images)
Across from the courthouse and at Cup Foods in the Minneapolis neighborhood where Floyd died, people gathered to protest, shouting, “Justice!” Dancing and singing hymns. George Floyd's friend told a group of reporters that the verdict, the verdict shows that change is coming, so watch out.
Philonise Floyd told reporters, "We have to protest because it seems this is a never-ending cycle," adding that he is "now fighting for everyone around the world … today we can breathe again!" Hollywood stars like Viola Davis and Kerry Washington confirmed his vow to continue fighting for his brother and others.
However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) was criticized for what she said: “Thank you again George Floyd for sacrificing your life for justice. To be there to call your mother about how heartbreaking it was, call your mother, "I can't breathe." She added that his death inspired thousands around the world to come out and protest in favor of justice .
A man holds his hands up as he marches after being found guilty in the Derek Chauvin trial on April 20, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (ELIJAH NOUVELAGE / AFP via Getty Images)
In contrast, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pledged to keep working to ensure that George Floyd's tragic death will not be in vain, or the problem of police misconduct has been resolved, or the gap between law enforcement and law enforcement agencies so many churches they serve have been bridged. "
Darnella Frazier was only 17 when she recorded the 8-minute, 46-second video of the police interaction that led to the death of George Floyd. On a Facebook post, she thanked God and wrote that justice was served. Keith Ellison, Attorney General of Minnesota, said the trial might not have happened if Frazier had done simple but profound courageous acts of testimony and records on their cell phones.
Derek Chauvin faces at least 12.5 years and up to 75 years in prison. A conviction is not planned. An appeal is expected to be filed while prosecutors are likely to seek an "enhanced sentence" for the "particular cruelty" inflicted on George Floyd. The other 3 Minneapolis City Police officers who were in attendance and are charged with the death of George Floyd will be on trial starting August 23rd.
Tragically, the Community Justice Action Fund reported, “Just as Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd, there are reports that a 15-year-old girl was killed by police in Columbus, OH shortly before the verdict was read. Police violence is gun violence and we need action across the country. "