HOUSTON — Houston leaders reacted to the guilty verdicts in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin with relief and reflection.
Chauvin killed Houston native George Floyd, who still has a lot of family and friends here in his hometown.
Floyd became a worldwide symbol of the racial injustice across America but for people back home, his murder was personal.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo: "As George Floyd’s hometown, the people of Harris County continue to feel his loss deep in our hearts. His family, his neighbors, his classmates, his community, will never forget his death and what it represents. While the justice system served its purpose today, there’s much more work to be done toward a smarter and fairer criminal justice system. George Floyd’s legacy will be with us every step of the way."
Mayor Sylvester Turner: “My prayers go out to this country because there’s a lot of pain, there’s a lot of hurt, there’s a lot of divisions [...] This is not one of those moments when you can say we've accomplished our mission or mission accomplished. It's not a time to jump up and down. It's a time to be reflective and ask what can we do – collectively – to make our city better."
"The jury has spoken, but it is time for this country to reach deep down and find a way to move forward. Because as we deal with issues on multiple levels, we need the community and law enforcement to work hand in hand in the best interest of the people we serve. It is a time to be reflective and ask what we can do to make our city better, our country better, and find ways to work together."
Police Chief Troy Finner: “I want to give thanks to the Floyd family. They have shown America, they have shown the world how, when you’re in pain, you stand up with class and you bring people together."
“As an African American man, as a man in general, as a police officer who has spent my entire adult life serving, I was hurt, I was angry as anyone else would be. I'm just glad to see justice was done. Regardless of what race you are, you can look at this and say no one is above the law, and everyone is going to be held accountable.”
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez: "Today’s verdict may not undo generations of unequal treatment under our nation’s legal system. But it does show we are making real progress toward a system that everyone can trust to produce real justice."
Harris County DA Kim Ogg: "Justice is a process and these jurors showed tremendous courage in reaching a just verdict. Millions saw the video, which we all found devastating. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of George Floyd, a Houston son whose murder is a defining moment in American criminal justice."
Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia: “I applaud the jury making the right decision and confirming what so many of us around the country witnessed for ourselves. Derek Chauvin faced a jury truly representative of his peers and had a strong defense. The justice system has worked in this case, and we can feel confident in the verdict.
The fact that members of Derek Chauvin's own department testified that he was out of line, makes a more than compelling case for his guilt. These officers helped hold a bad actor among their ranks accountable. Law enforcement must strive toward accountability to build trust with the community, or the unrest we have seen in recent years will continue.
As someone who has worn a badge and uniform for nearly 30 years, these cases that cause distrust of the diverse women and men who put their lives at risk daily, are always painful. However, to have a verdict like this, when there’s overwhelming evidence, is critical to prove that we can hold those who violate the public trust accountable for their actions. Looking ahead, it is important that our communities and law enforcement commit to working together on a path forward that will bring meaningful change.”
Fort Bend County Judge KP George: "On May 25, 2020, the world watched in sadness, anger, and disbelief at the heinous murder of George Floyd at the knee of Derek Chauvin. As family, friends, and loved ones grieved, his death sparked a global movement as millions of people spoke out against systemic racism and leading the call for social justice.
"Today, a jury of George Floyd’s peers, following weeks of viewing disturbing video footage, listening to witness and expert testimony presented by both the defense and prosecutors, took less than 24 hours to find Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts for the murder of George Floyd.
"While no verdict can bring George Floyd back or heal our nation, this verdict is a necessary step on the road to progress, addressing racial inequity and racial bias in our criminal justice system.
"We respect and support our men and women in uniform who put themselves in harm’s way to protect us every day. However, we cannot support those who operate in bias and without regard to human dignity.
"George Floyd was laid to rest in Fort Bend County, the most diverse county in America. In our efforts to make our community the shining example of inclusion and belonging, let us continue to work together against discrimination or bias of any form."
Astros Manager Dusty Baker: "It's never a time to celebrate when someone's killed. Maybe this will help us heal and we'll cease with the violence. I'm just hoping this sends us in a positive direction."
HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan: "On this day, we say his name: George Floyd. His face is seared into our memory, and his final words have pierced our hearts. His image is emblazoned on murals from all over the world to Jack Yates High School, his alma mater. An HISD alum awakened not only the moral consciousness of a nation, but the world. That is George Floyd’s legacy – and now a part of HISD’s history. But our future can be different by shifting the dialogue on social justice in our country."
Texas Rep. Ron Reynolds, Fort Bend County
"Today is a win for the entire community — not just Black Americans and the family of the late George Floyd. Today is also a win for the law enforcement community as they no longer have to wade in uncertainty about what it means to protect and serve."
U.S. Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee
“I commend the members of the jurors for the conscientious manner in which they listened to the testimony, considered the forensic data and materials, and weighed all the evidence presented. I commend the prosecution team for their extraordinary presentation of the evidence and illumination of the events and conduct that brought all of us to this day. I commend all those connected with ensuring the trial was conducted in a manner that reflected the best of our judicial system, which, though far from perfect, is the envy of the world."
“I especially wish to express my thanks and admiration to the family of George Floyd, who for nearly the past year have had to bear the unbearable pain of losing and living without their beloved daddy, brother, and uncle. They shouldered this burden with uncommon grace and an unwavering commitment to ensuring that justice be done in this case so that justice will be expected to be done in all cases regardless of race, religion, nationality, gender, or other circumstance of birth."
“The jury in Minneapolis did its duty under the Constitution. That should inspire and motivate all of us to do our part under that same Constitution, which is to continue the work of forming a more perfect union. And that requires all of us, whether in the role of governmental official, public servant, or citizen, to do all we can rebuild trust and restore respect between those who live under the laws and those who administer them. After all, the bedrock of democracy and of law and order is the diffuse support these communities have for the political system, regime, and authorities.