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South Florida leaders, lawmakers chime in on Derek Chauvin verdict

Derek Chauvin handcuffed and taken into custody after guilty verdict, April 20, 2021
Posted at 4:54 PM, Apr 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 00:18:19-04

WPTV is getting community reaction throughout South Florida and the Treasure Coast about the verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial.

In a live discussion on WPTV's Facebook page Tuesday, WPTV anchor Jay Cashmere spoke with Patrick Franklin from the Urban League of Palm Beach County, the Rev. Dr. J.R. Thicklin, president of the Palm Beach County Clergy Alliance, WPTV's legal expert, defense attorney Michelle Suskauer, and Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg.

Watch the complete conversation in the video player below.

MORE COVERAGE: Area clergy watching, waiting for fate of Derek Chauvin | Delray Beach police chief discusses impact on killing of George Floyd | Social reform leader pleased by verdict, says more can be done | State senator breathing 'sigh of relief' after guilty verdict

Here's what local leaders, community activists and other lawmakers had to say about the verdict:

Dave Aronberg, Palm Beach County State Attorney

Keith James, West Palm Beach Mayor

"The jurors in the case of Derek Chauvin absolutely got the verdicts right. I am relieved but not celebratory. While justice has been served, it does not bring back George Floyd. Derek Chauvin was a bad police officer. As they did at the trial, good police officers must hold bad police officers accountable. When they see something, they must say something, just as they ask of us. As a community and as a nation, we can and must work together and begin to heal. My hope is that George Floyd's tragic and senseless death was not in vain. We must continue to have the difficult conversations needed to bring about meaningful changes that result in equity for everyone."

Lois Frankel, Congress

"The verdict finding Derek Chauvin guilty of murder brought tears of joy and hope to millions of Americans who witnessed with their own eyes the homicide of George Floyd. Now is the time for the U.S. Senate to follow the lead of the U.S. House and pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would ban chokeholds, stop no-knock warrants and hold police accountable."

Gregory Tony, Broward County Sheriff

"Today, jurors confirmed that Derek Chauvin's actions caused the death of Mr. George Perry Floyd Jr. For the majority of law enforcement officials in this country, this doesn't come as a surprise. Chauvin's conviction is a reminder to all who wear a badge that we are not above the laws which we swore to protect. Chauvin's lack of empathy and compassion and his brutality set off a firestorm across the world but moved the consciousness of America like never before. I am hopeful that Floyd's death and the criminal trial will bring about continued positive change, social justice and equitable judicial outcomes for all people. At the Broward Sheriff's Office, we shall remain a national leader in police reform. We are committed to continuing to strengthen relationships and increase trust between law enforcement and the many diverse communities we serve."

Perry Thurston, State Senator

"Judgment has been rendered, and justice has been served. The death of George Floyd laid bare the disparate treatment at the hands of law enforcement many in the minority community throughout our country have sounded the alarm over, cried over, and protested over for years. With the conviction of Derek Chauvin today, those voices were finally heard.

It is my hope that those who would offer crackdowns on peaceful protesters instead of examining the reasons for those protests, heed the lessons contained in that judgment of guilt. Police officers are just as human as the rest of us. There are good officers and, unfortunately, a few bad ones among them. Silencing the outcries for justice when an officer goes rogue serves no one, and heightens the distrust between those in blue and those they have pledged to serve and protect.

George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, when asked about waiting for the verdict to come in, responded: 'We have faith. We're going to get through this. After we get the verdict and we get this conviction, we'll be able to breathe.'

To George Floyd's brother, his many supporters, and the millions of people here and around the world who marched in solidarity to demand accountability for this murder, justice has finally been delivered. It is time to take that breath."

Shevrin Jones, State Senator

"The emotion, as a young Black man in this country, to have justice prevail in the Chauvin murder trial that has captivated the world's attention is indescribable. While millions of people breathe a sigh of relief for this accountability, there is still so much work to be done. What's clear is that it is long past time to address systemic racism in this country and I will continue to push for real reforms so that everyone can live safely without fear of harassment, discrimination or being killed. I continue to pray for the Floyd family and others across the country who've suffered immense, unnecessary loss due to nothing more than the color of their skin."

Bobby DuBois, State House Minority Leader

"Why was I holding my breath and praying when the facts and evidence were clear? Although justice was served today, the next time I will still sit holding my breath and praying until systemic racism is eradicated from society.

Derek Chauvin killed a Black man on the street in broad daylight in front of a crowd of people. He did so slowly, intentionally and with absolutely no regard for the man trapped beneath his knee.

George Floyd should be alive today. He should be with his daughter, his family and his friends. No judge or jury can change that.

Today, the halls of justice said his name, 'George Floyd,' but there are many others and we must continue to say their names and see their faces because Black Lives Matter."