Some local, state and federal leaders representing Reporter communities are reacting to former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin being found guilty April 20 on all counts in the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter after he knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes even as he told the officer he couldn’t breathe. The murder triggered a nationwide protest movement that came to local communities and sparked official racial dialogue processes in Brookhaven and Sandy Springs.

George Floyd in a photo from his Facebook profile, via Wikipedia.

The following statements will be updated as more reactions come in. The city of Sandy Springs declined to comment.

Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch

“The jury’s verdict sends a strong message about accountability. I join our police chief and police department in standing against police brutality and racism in any form. I know we must continue to do the work to ensure there’s a better tomorrow for all of us.”

Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst

“There was a just verdict today, but if we have learned anything over the past year, it’s that there is still a lot of work to be done in all of our hearts, minds and actions.”

John Funny, chairman, Brookhaven Social Justice, Race and Equity Commission

“The verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin is a first step toward justice in America, but we have so much farther to go.

“Personally, I am so grateful for this jury. Grateful for them listening and reviewing the conclusive evidence detailing the wrong that was done to George Floyd, resulting in Mr. Floyd’s death.

“We collectively prayed for justice to be delivered and in this case, our prayers were answered. However, we must continue to work to bring about change in our society to eradicate social injustice and racism and hold criminals accountable for their criminal acts.

“So, as we celebrate this victory, I hope we all will now also focus on positive change and engagement in our community and our nation so we can begin to heal.”

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

“While I am grateful that the verdict is guilty on all three counts, there is no verdict or punishment that will bring George Floyd back to his family. As tragedies have propelled our nation into a level of needed consciousness and action in the past, it is my sincere hope that the tragic death of George Floyd will forever be our reminder that the work towards reform, healing and reconciliation is not a one time event. We must continue this work if we ever hope to truly be one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”

Atlanta City Council (joint statement from all members)

“Today’s verdict brings some measure of accountability for the tragic murder of George Floyd, and his family and loved ones are in our prayers tonight. Our collective efforts to bend the moral arc of the universe in the face of systemic injustices must continue each and every day. The work of building an Atlanta and an America of ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ is far from finished. But we will get there – together.

“We deeply appreciate the jury that listened to all relevant testimony, and in accordance with the law, rendered the verdict that they did.”

U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams (D-5th)

“Today’s guilty verdict is a pivotal moment for policing in America. The conviction of Derek Chauvin sends the message that we can and will hold officers accountable. But, it’s important to note this is only the beginning. This one case, this instance of justice, is what is deserved and overdue for so many other families. Although nothing can bring George Floyd back, my hope is that his family can find some solace in knowing that justice was served. We are done dying.”

State Sen. Jen Jordan (D-Atlanta)

“There will never be true justice for George Floyd. He should be alive. 

“But this verdict is justice-affirming. 

“His family’s public loss & being put through a trial where Chauvin blamed Floyd for his own death are burdens no family should have to bear.

“The jury, ultimately, believed what they saw. 

“We owe it to the Floyd family to continue to fight for accountability for police misconduct, as well as for systemic changes to policing, and for investments in communities most impacted by police violence.” 

State Rep. Shea Roberts (D-Sandy Springs)

“While this guilty verdict is not a solution to the broken system and we have a long way to go, I am so relieved justice prevailed for the Floyd family.”  

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

Sammie Purcell is Associate Editor at Rough Draft Atlanta.

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.