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Local leaders release statements about Chauvin verdict

Image provided by City of Gainesville

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe, School Superintendent Dr. Carlee Simon, and Gainesville Police Department Chief Tony Jones have released statements on the verdict announced yesterday in the Derek Chauvin trial. Statements are presented as issued except for the Mayor’s request that people turn on their porch lights, which was issued yesterday and edited to reflect that the request was for last night.

Mayor Lauren Poe

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“Following the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial related to the murder of George Floyd, we extend our love and solidarity to Mr. Floyd’s family and friends, and share in the relief felt by our Black and brown neighbors who have for too long been abandoned by our criminal justice system. 

“This was not justice. Justice would be George Floyd alive and well. There is still work to be done, and promises to be fulfilled. 

“So [on April 20], we call on our neighbors – those of every faith, every color, every culture and pronoun to shine your porch lights bright in community with one another. 

“Join us in this simple proclamation of peace. This covenant of unity. This promise of hope.

“Within each of us exists the power of the human spirit and human decency. Together, we have unmatched strength against the forces of hate, racism and bigotry.

“In Gainesville, we will continue push forward in our effort to create a just, fair and equitable city for each of our neighbors. 

“To do this we must commit to having difficult community conversations, candid conversations, on-going conversations around uncomfortable topics like race, bias and personal experience. This is how we grow and learn from one another.”

Superintendent Dr. Carlee Simon

“While there is a sense of satisfaction following the guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd, it cannot undo the pain and anguish Mr. Floyd suffered before his death and his friends and loved ones have suffered since his death. Nor does it balance the scales of justice, which are still tilted overwhelmingly against America’s Black and brown citizens.

“All of us have a role to play in achieving that balance. We must be willing to call out injustice, bigotry and hate wherever they exist, in whatever forms they take. We must also be willing to make decisions that will ensure that all people, whatever their race, religion, nation of origin, social status or identity, have an equal share in the benefits of our democracy.

“As Superintendent of Alachua County Public Schools, I am committed to working with our School Board members, students, staff, families and all people of good will to promote justice and equity in our schools and our community.”

Gainesville Police Department Chief Tony Jones

“Gainesville and the rest of the world witnessed a critical moment in our nation’s criminal justice system in the guilty verdict of Derrick Chauvin regarding the death of George Floyd.

“What occurred last year in Minneapolis revealed that our criminal justice system is not perfect, and yesterday’s verdict showed that no person is above the law and that all of us will be held accountable for the crimes we commit.

“In my opinion, the jury would not have reached its decision if it were not for the brave citizens that came forward and testified at this trial. I commend the men and women of law enforcement and other public safety officials who testified that the protocol used by Derrick Chauvin was not an acceptable practice of any law enforcement agency. What Mr. Chauvin did clearly contributed to the death of George Floyd.

“I hope that the guilty verdict, reached by a jury of Mr. Chauvin’s peers, represents the beginning of bringing justice to the unnecessary death of Mr. Floyd. In the weeks ahead, there are additional defendants who will also have their day in the criminal justice system.

“As your police chief, I can assure you that the Gainesville Police Department will continue to work with our neighbors, partnering with them to ensure that our department’s encounters are constitutional and performed with compassion and consistency. The Derrick Chauvin case vividly demonstrates the horrific action of a bad officer. I am proud to be part of a profession that has countless good officers who work hard every day to serve their communities, sometimes sacrificing their lives to protect our neighbors.

“This verdict will not bring Mr. Floyd back to life, but it is my hope that it will begin to restore our nation’s trust in our criminal justice system. I’m asking everyone in Gainesville today to work together so that we can continue to make this city a stronger community by focusing on all of the problems that contribute to crime. I pledge to each of you GPD’s commitment to make this a reality.”

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