How the US, world reacted to Derek Chauvin conviction

The conviction of the former US police officer hailed as a milestone in a long journey towards police accountability for the killings of Black Americans.

The US president and other world leaders have responded to the conviction of former officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd [File: Jae C Hong/AP Photo]

The murder conviction of US police officer Derek Chauvin has been hailed as a milestone in a long journey towards police accountability for the killings of Black Americans, with President Joe Biden calling it “a moment of significant change”.

The killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died after then-officer Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes in May last year, sparked protests across the United States that resonated across the world.

On Tuesday, Chauvin’s conviction on second and third-degree murder, as well as manslaughter, again sent shockwaves, eliciting responses from world leaders, rights groups, legislators, and police organisations.

Here is how the world reacted to Chauvin’s conviction.

US President Joe Biden

“‘I can’t breathe.’ Those were George Floyd’s last words. We cannot let them die with him. We have to keep hearing them. We must not turn away. We cannot turn away. This can be a moment of significant change.”

Vice President Kamala Harris, first Black vice president

“Today we feel a sigh of relief, but it cannot take away the pain. A measure of justice is not the same as equal justice …

“America has a long history of systemic racism. Black Americans, and Black men, in particular, have been treated throughout the course of our history as less than human.”

“Black men are fathers and brothers and sons and uncles and grandfathers and friends and neighbours. Their lives must be valued in our education system, in our healthcare system, in our housing system, in our economic system, in our criminal justice system – in our nation, full stop.”

Michelle Bachelet, United Nations human rights chief

“As the jury recognised, the evidence in this case was crystal clear. Any other result would have been a travesty of justice.”

“This case has also helped reveal, perhaps more clearly than ever before, how much remains to be done to reverse the tide of systemic racism that permeates the lives of people of African descent.”

“As we have painfully witnessed in recent days and weeks, reforms to policing departments across the U.S. continue to be insufficient to stop people of African descent from being killed.”

Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnes Callamard

“Justice for #GeorgeFloyd has been rendered. But there are hundreds more waiting for justice. Todays verdict should only be the first step towards a long overdue proportionate attention to, and admission of, the historical crimes committed against black communities”.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

“It is good news that we saw the verdict come through where people hoped it would,” Trudeau told Edmonton-based online talk show host Ryan Jespersen.

“But it still underlines that there’s an awful lot of work to do.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

“I was appalled by the death of George Floyd and welcome this verdict. My thoughts tonight are with George Floyd’s family and friends.”

Former US President Barack Obama

“Today, a jury did the right thing. But true justice requires much more. Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, and we stand with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied,” Obama tweeted, including former First Lady Michelle Obama in his message.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan

“My thoughts are with George Floyd’s loved ones. I welcome the verdict but by itself this won’t heal the pain of their loss, which reverberated around the world. The guilty verdict must be the beginning of real change – not the end.”

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

“George Floyd’s family and community deserved for his killer to be held accountable. Today, they got that accountability. Always and forever, Black lives matter.”

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz

“Today’s verdict is an important step forward for justice in Minnesota. The trial is over, but our work has only begun. The world watched on May 25, 2020 as George Floyd died with a knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes.”

“Thousands of Minnesotans marched in the streets last summer in the wake of his death — inspiring a movement around the globe. While many of these people never met George, they valued his humanity. They knew what happened was wrong. They called for change, and they demanded justice.”

Ilhan Omar, US representative from Minnesota

“This feels different for our community, justice feels new and long overdue. Rejoice, my beloved community. Grateful to @AGEllison, jurors, and everyone who made this possible. Alhamdulillah!!”

Lebron James, NBA player


Representative Joyce Beatty, chair of Congressional Black Caucus

“This is just the first step. We know very clearly that justice has been delayed.”

“When we come today, we will continue to say all of the names. We will fight continuously for all of those who died or have been injured senselessly by law enforcement.”

Representative Joyce Beatty, Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, accompanied by members of the Congressional Black Caucus [File: Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo]

Black Lives Matter

“This isn’t proof the system works. It’s proof of how broken it is. Because it took us this long, and this much attention. Until we have a world where our communities can thrive free from fear, there will be no justice.”

“330 days to confirm what we already knew. 330 days of reliving the trauma of George’s murder, fearing that the system would let us down again, and mourning so many more that we lost. For a murder witnessed by millions.”

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

“Justice has prevailed in the case against #GeorgeFloyds killer #DerekChauvin, but the work is not done! We must keep fighting to end qualified immunity, and we must get #PoliceReformNOW.”

National Fraternal Order of Police

“The trial was fair and due process was served. We hope and expect that all of our fellow citizens will respect the rule of law and remain peaceful tonight and in the days to come.”

Naomi Osaka, professional tennis player

“I was going to make a celebratory tweet but then I was hit with sadness because we are celebrating something that is clear as day. The fact that so many injustices occurred to make us hold our breath toward this outcome is really telling.”

Bernie Sanders, independent US senator

“The jury’s verdict delivers accountability for Derek Chauvin, but not justice for George Floyd. Real justice for him and too many others can only happen when we build a nation that fundamentally respects the human dignity of every person.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies