Police chiefs hail Chauvin verdict as a key step to healing

Police chiefs hail Chauvin verdict as a key step to healing
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin (with mic) spoke for the first time in court Thursday.
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Daily US Times: Not long after a jury convicted former ex-police officer Derek Chauvin of killing African-American George Floyd, police chiefs across the US started speaking up. And it was not to defend the police.

Shaun Ferguson, New Orleans Police Superintendent, said convicting Chauvin on Tuesday showed “police officers are not above the law.”

The sheriff in Cincinnati, Charmaine McGuffey, said it was a “necessary step” in healing a nation torn apart by police violence. Art Acevedo, Miami Police Chief, encouraged Americans to breathe “a collective sigh of relief.”

Law enforcement leaders said Derek Chauvin’s conviction was a step toward restoring trust in the criminal justice system and repairing relations between communities and police. It was a major change from previous years, when even the highest levels would close rank around an officer following an on-duty killing.

But activists and police leaders alike cautioned that a single case of Derek Chauvin will not stamp out excessive force in departments nationwide or end systemic racism.

Madison, Wisconsin, Police Chief Shon Barnes, the city’s first Black police leader, said: “The American justice system has not always served all of her people well, and the death of George Floyd is a shocking example of where we can fail each other.”

“As an officer of the law, I believe that today justice has prevailed. We hear you. This moment matters,” he said.

At Chauvin’s trial, judges saw video from police body-worn cameras and bystanders and heard witnesses describe how the white officer pinned his knee to George Floyd’s neck as the Black man cried out, “I can’t breathe.”

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