On Tuesday afternoon, former police office Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering Minneapolis man George Floyd last May, an event that set off some of the largest civil rights protests in years.

Following the verdict, thousands of people took to the streets nationwide, with hundreds gathering outside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, to celebrate the moment of accountability for police violence and racial injustice.

However, protestors and local leaders echoed the messages of last year’s protests, that there was no justice in Floyd’s death and systemic change is yet to happen.

AG James. Photo: Andrea Leonhardt for BK Reader.

Attorney General Letitia James said almost one year ago, the Floyd family and communities across this nation were torn apart by the murder of George Floyd.

“Today, there is finally accountability for this atrocious crime that stole the life of a father, brother, son, and friend. I pray that the Floyd family finds some semblance of justice and peace for this horribly unjust act,” she said.

“While true justice will never be served as long as Black men and women are subjected to such inequality, today, we are one step closer to a fairer system.”

NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams echoed that sentiment, saying he felt the pain of the Floyd family, and the perpetual pain of Black people in America, “suffering from a wound that never really has time to scar over, much less heal, before it is again ripped open by a headline, a video, a verdict.”

NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. Photo: Nigel Roberts

“It’s hard to truly breathe a sigh of relief when George Floyd cannot. Derek Chauvin is guilty, but George Floyd is dead.”

He said systems in the country had long given “tacit permission to people like Derek Chauvin, George Zimmerman, and Daniel Pantaleo,” condoning the deaths of Black people rather than condemning their killers.

“While there has been progress in some areas which are worthy of recognition and even celebration, most are overdue and underdelivered, falling far short of the need to fundamentally redefine public safety.”

City Councilmember and Brooklyn Borough President hopeful Robert Cornegy said no other conclusion besides guilty on all counts could have been reached by anyone who reviewed the facts of this terrible death.

Councilmember Robert Cornegy. Photo: Anna Bradley-Smith for BK Reader.

“At the same time, no verdict can undo the terrible injustice suffered by Mr. Floyd. And no one verdict can undo the systematic legacy of abuse by police against people of color, especially Black men, that still exists in our nation,” he said, adding there was a lot of work to do “to end this scourge.”

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said although justice was served in Minneapolis on Tuesday, the fight against injustice everywhere continued.

“We cannot have equality and true public safety without police accountability and a criminal justice system that treats everyone the same regardless of skin color or background,” he said.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. Photo: Raymond Hagans/MediaPunch

“Police departments across the country are infected by racism and only serious reforms that bring diversity, transparency and humanity to policing will prevent the death of the next George Floyd.”

US Rep. Yvette Clarke. Photo: Nigel Roberts

Rep. Yvette Clarke said that Chauvin was given the due process he denied George Floyd, and he must serve his sentence.

“He was convicted and found guilty on all three counts. While this verdict will not bring George Floyd back, this is also a proud day for America,” she said, adding the verdict was a start, but it did not absolve Congress and the federal government of their responsibility to reform policing across the country. “It is a reminder of the need for the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act.”

“Black Lives still, and always will, matter!” 

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Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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