April 21, 2021

Statement on verdict in Derek Chauvin trial

MN350 commends the guilty verdicts in Derek Chauvin’s trial as the obvious and necessary path to hold a criminal accountable for the violent and cruel death of a human being. And we pray the verdicts bring a measure of closure and healing to the family of George Floyd and to countless others, in Minnesota and worldwide, who were traumatized yet again by police violence.

But just during the trial, at least 64 other people died at the hands of law enforcement in the United States, half of them Black and Latino people. That includes the reckless and reprehensible shooting of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center. Every year, police officers in the United States kill 1,000 people. Yet only seven have ever been convicted of murder. 

“We are grateful the Chauvin trial ended with guilty verdicts, the only honorable conclusion,” said MN350 Executive Director Sam Grant. “In this case, the legal system produced the right outcome. But to say justice has been served is to imply a finality that’s naive and blatantly untrue. The conviction of Derek Chauvin is a positive signal for reforming the kind of racist and brutal policing that has operated virtually unchecked in our country and that routinely steals the lives of Black and Brown people. But it is only a small step.

“Our organization works every day to stop a climate crisis whose impacts fall heaviest on Black and Brown communities. We firmly believe there can be no climate justice without racial justice. Our sincere hope is that the Chauvin verdicts inspire Minnesotans to continue working together to dismantle the much larger and deeply rooted systems of white supremacy that led to the deaths of Philando Castile, George Floyd and Daunte Wright. That’s what justice means.”