SAN DIEGO – San Diego’s elected officials reacted with relief and called on the community to heal Tuesday after a jury convicted former Officer Derek Chauvin on all three charges in last May’s police killing of George Floyd.
In a series of tweets, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said the jury “rightly called this case what it was: murder.”
“Derek Chauvin’s actions were an abuse of power and a disservice to those who nobly protect and serve our communities – and now, he will be held accountable,” Gloria said. “Today, millions know their cries for justice were heard.”
He also said that he hopes “we will take up the important work” in addressing systemic wrongs against Black Americans and “come together to heal.”
“I encourage all San Diegans to honor George Floyd’s memory peacefully,” Gloria said.
City Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe said her heart was filled with angst before the verdict, but that it’s now “filled with relief that justice has indeed been served.”
“This verdict is a seed of hope for mothers, fathers, and families with Black sons that our lives do matter and more needs to be done to reimagine policing in our communities of concern,” Montgomery Steppe said in a tweet. “This case is a pivotal turning point for all of us who love justice and fight for equity in law enforcement.”
Councilmember Raul Campillo noted that Tuesday’s verdict delivers “accountability, but we are still far from full justice for George Floyd and his family.”
“Black Lives Matter, and we have a long way to go to ensure that we have true equality in our legal system, and real justice in every aspect of our society, that would have prevented the abuse of deadly force that led to Mr. Floyd’s murder in the first place,” Campillo said in a tweet.
Several members of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors also spoke out following the verdict in the Chauvin case. County Board Chair Nathan Fletcher said in a statement that “justice was served today in Minnesota,” but also that the case is “reflective of a serious problem of systemic racism and perpetual violence against communities of color across our nation.”
“The work to fundamentally deliver justice and fairness for communities of color must continue,” Fletcher said.
Speaking about the “long-simmering pain and suffering” felt by the Black community, Nora Vargas, vice chair of the Board of Supervisors, said in a statement that Floyd didn’t deserve to die and that “his killer acted of his own volition in playing Judge, Jury, and Executioner.”
“The verdict, in this case, will not heal the loss George Floyd’s family and community must live with,” Vargas said. “We continue to be reminded almost daily through the various injustices in the news and the various stories that don’t make the news that we have a long way to go as a country to dismantle the institutions that have unfairly and discriminately been used against communities of color, particularly our Black communities.”
In a statement, District Attorney Summer Stephan called it a “just verdict” and noted that “San Diego County has enacted several reforms and we are committed to boldly continuing on this path.”
San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore acknowledged that Tuesday’s verdict may bring out emotions and other responses from the community. He called on members of the community to react “peacefully and with respect to other people and property.”
“If you are participating in a demonstration and are asked by law enforcement to leave the area, please do so,” Gore said in a statement. “If you witness a violent act or destruction of property, please move to a safe place, and report it.”
Other reactions came from Gov. Gavin Newsom, who said “George Floyd would still be alive if he looked like me.”
“That must change,” Newsom said. “No conviction can repair the harm done to the Floyd family, but today’s verdict provides accountability. Now, we must continue our work to root out the racial injustice that haunts our society.”
In Congress, Rep. Sara Jacobs, D-San Diego, and Rep. Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano, both acknowledged the verdict, but noted true justice would have meant that Floyd was still alive and able to go home to his family.
“Today’s guilty verdict is one step in the long march toward equality,” Jacobs said in a tweet. “Now, the Senate needs to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. #BlackLivesMatter.”
Both of California’s senators spoke out following the ruling.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein said on Twitter that the verdict is an “opportunity to show all Americans that police must be held accountable for their actions.”
“We are once again reminded of people like Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Walter Scott in South Carolina, Stephon Clark in California, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and too many others who lost their lives to police brutality,” Feinstein said. “I have great respect for law enforcement, but I always believe there must be transparency and accountability.”
Sen. Alex Padilla said on Twitter that the verdict “represents the promise that power cannot protect an offender and that every victim deserves justice.”
“All too often, communities of color have been denied this promise. We know that true justice will require work far beyond this verdict,” Padilla said. “Accountability for police officers should be an expectation, not an aberration.”
Rev. Shane Harris, a local civil rights activist who had traveled to Minneapolis to meet with Floyd’s family, spoke with FOX 5 after the verdict was read.
“I think that this is a significant advancement in the fight that we’ve been fighting for a number of years and the fight for reimagining policing and it’s certainly a good start,” Harris told FOX 5. “However, we have more work to do.”
“As a Black man, it feels like for once in my life, that we can get justice, that things potentially are changing,” Harris added.