‘A step towards delivering justice’: DC region reacts to verdict in Chauvin trial

The jury has made its decision and found a former Minneapolis police officer guilty in the killing of George Floyd, whose death last summer sparked worldwide protests calling for police reform.

The nation had been on edge ahead of the jury’s decision. Before the verdict was announced Tuesday, President Joe Biden said he was “praying the verdict is the right verdict.” And in D.C., officials prepared for the outcome with police on 12-hour shifts; about 250 National Guard members were also activated as part of preparations for any protests in the District.

The National Fraternal Order of Police said in a statement that the trial was “fair and due process was served,” and it hoped that citizens will remain peaceful.

Most lawmakers in the D.C. area agree that although the verdict won’t bring Floyd back, justice was served, and that the person responsible for his death has been held accountable. They also said that this is a small step toward justice and equity, and there’s more work that needs to be done.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he hopes that the verdict will bring “some measure of peace” to the Floyd family and the community. But he acknowledged that there is still a “long way to go to live up to our nation’s highest ideals.”

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said the guilty verdict is a step toward accountability for police. “It is a step towards delivering justice — for George Floyd, for his family, for his community, and for our entire country,” Northam said.

Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen said the verdict was just, but “we must think of the Black Americans who have never received justice.” He called for Congress to act swiftly to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin hopes that the verdict will bring Floyd’s family some measure of peace, “but George Floyd should be alive today,” he said. “How many Derek Chauvins have gotten away with murder because they weren’t caught on camera? Let’s reform law enforcement now.”

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay released a statement with Fairfax County police, saying that while the inequities surrounding Floyd’s death were not solved by the guilty verdict, Chauvin has been held accountable for his actions.

“Locally, it is important all Fairfax County residents have the opportunity for a safe and equitable future,” McKay said.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She has a master’s degree in interactive journalism from American University and a master’s degree in English Literature from The George Washington University.

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