Madison leaders hope Chauvin verdict will promote healing, change to policing

Published: Apr. 20, 2021 at 4:52 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 20, 2021 at 10:40 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Local leaders are hopeful the decision to convict former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin of all three charges in the murder of George Floyd will promote healing and dismantle racist systems in the Madison community.

Madison Police Department Chief Shon Barnes said he was hopeful that the decision means the community can heal and grow together.

“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,” said Barnes. “As an officer of the law, I believe that today justice has prevailed. We hear you; this moment matters. The Madison Police Department is prepared to stand in solidarity with our community as we grieve and process the events of May 25th, 2020.”

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway echoed sentiments of healing from the decision.

“Justice would be George Floyd home with his family and friends,” the mayor said. “But my hope is that this unanimous verdict will result in some small measure of healing as we work to bring change to policing across the nation and here in Madison.”

State Sen. Melissa Agard (D-Madison) explained she was thinking of George Floyd’s family and friends following the decision.

“Regardless of the decision by the jury, George Floyd should be alive today-- no decision will provide true justice for Mr. Floyd,” said Agard. She also pushed moving toward steps of growth in social justice reform.

“We must continue to be determined in our efforts to dismantle racist systems and work towards national reforms and broad structural changes,” said Agard. “This cannot be a talking point, we must do the hard and sometimes uncomfortable work to dismantle systemic racism in our country. We have a long road of real work ahead of us to ensure that no other families continue to endure this violence.”

Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County CEO Michael Johnson watched the Chauvin trial verdict with tears in his eyes as the decision came through.

“To see that he was indicted on all three charges, I just want, I’m just proud of our country today and I think it was a step in the right direction towards how we police in our country and how we interface with our people of color,” said Johnson.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said the verdict does not restore George Floyd’s life, but hopes the decision to convict Chauvin means progress to be made.

“There is still much work to be done, and our nation must acknowledge this in thought, voice and deed until all Black lives are treated with the same dignity, respect and fairness as others,” said Parisi.

Chauvin was convicted Tuesday of murder and manslaughter for pinning Floyd to the pavement with his knee on the Black man’s neck in a case that touched off worldwide protests, violence and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S.

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