Utah leaders and groups react to guilty verdict in Derek Chauvin trial

The former police officer was convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, left, and Darlene McDonald bump fists as the Salt Lake City Racial and Equity in Policing Commission holds a press conference at the International Peace Gardens in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, following the guilty verdict on all three counts in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd.

On Tuesday, Utah leaders and groups reacted to the guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin, a white former police officer in Minneapolis who was convicted of murder and manslaughter in the 2020 death of George Floyd, a Black man.

Rep. Blake Moore • “With respect to today’s verdict: I am grateful justice has been served in what I believe was a fair trial. I sincerely hope we can use this critical moment to better listen and build respectful dialogue as we seek unity across our nation.”

Rep. Burgess Owens • “Today, justice was served in the senseless killing of George Floyd. I am praying for peace and healing in Minnesota and across the nation as we the people unite to build bridges for positive change.”

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall • “The work toward a more just Salt Lake City began in the days and weeks following the death of George Floyd last year. Today we remain committed, and we will move forward by continuing our pursuit of becoming a more just and equitable City for all of our residents.”

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson • “My thoughts are with the friends and family of George Floyd and the nation as a whole. After having the opportunity to observe much of the Derek Chauvin trial, I am pleased with the results of the jury. It’s clear that George Floyd was murdered without remorse. Our nation has skilled and committed police officers, but also those who operate in their roles with bias and without regard for human life and liberty. There needs to be accountability. As a community, I ask that we work collaboratively to address systemic issues regarding race and justice as we seek to reshape our institutions in order to promote accountability and justice.”

Qualtrics CEO/ Jazz owner Ryan Smith • “My thoughts are with George Floyd’s family following his tragic murder and today’s verdict. We must all actively work toward meaningful, systemic change.”

Former Rep. Mia Love • “Justice was served, but let’s remember the life that was was lost. This is justice that no family should ever have to await. Let’s all do our part to improve and heal our shared nation.”

Utah Senate Democrats Quad Caucus • “We are encouraged by the jury’s decision to charge Derek Chauvin with all three counts. While this verdict will not bring back George Floyd, our communities are made stronger and can better reconcile when justice prevails and when accountability advances. The murder of George Floyd moved the Nation last spring and ignited demonstrations to address systemic racism and to advocate for police reform in our communities — we are confident that meaningful reform will continue to develop here in Utah and throughout the country.”

Utah Jazz • “Our hearts are with the George Floyd family today. His murder — among too many examples of senseless killings, systematic racism and injustice — has only heightened the urgency to peacefully and emphatically work towards creating sustainable and meaningful change. The work ahead of us remains clear, our resolve is strong and our actions must be even stronger.”

Utah Department of Public Safety • “The Utah Department of Public Safety remains committed to humanity, justice and equity for everyone within our state’s borders. We honor the inalienable rights of the people and the rights that DPS officials are constitutionally sworn to protect.

“Over the past year, we have worked to build important relationships with stakeholders in the police reform movement spurred by Floyd’s death. Our outreach within the multicultural, social justice reform and religious communities in our state has led to numerous codified reforms, both in policy and law, to which law enforcement officers statewide are now held accountable.

“We worked quickly with the Utah Legislature in June 2020 on legislation banning knee-on-neck and other chokeholds by Utah law enforcement officers.

“Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), working with the Utah Legislature, has updated and is updating its curriculum to include more training for vetted and legal arrest control techniques, crisis intervention training, modern mental health awareness, and updated de-escalation techniques.

“We are committed to future reform efforts, including transparency, training, accountability, punishment of officer misconduct, community engagement, fairness, and social justice.

“We join Governor Cox in urging Utahns who plan to respond to the verdict to do so within the bounds guaranteed by the First Amendment. We will respect personal safety, life and property. Any threats against such will not be tolerated.”

United Way of Salt Lake • “At United Way of Salt Lake, we’ve been closely following the trial of Derek Chauvin. Today, a jury found him guilty on all charges related to the murder of George Floyd. While we are encouraged by this verdict, it does not erase the injustices or inequalities experienced by people of color in our communities. United Way of Salt Lake condemns racism in all its forms and remains committed to working for racial justice and the elimination of racial and economic disparity gaps.”

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