Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said there is “so much more work to do” for criminal justice reform following the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd.
Chauvin, 45, was found guilty by a jury on Tuesday of all three charges he faced — unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as Floyd cried out that he couldn’t breathe, leading to Floyd’s death.
Rinehart released a public statement Tuesday evening following the verdict and said that the country is divided over racial, criminal justice and political issues.
Rinehart said the jury “confirmed what we have all known about those nine horrifying minutes.”
“Through this verdict, our legal system has kept this case on the road toward justice. The sentence in this case will further reveal whether real reform is within reach,” Rinehart said.
“We have grieved, marched, listened, learned, shouted, cried, voted, and waited. We have waited for this day not because we were unsure of the truth, but because we were unsure of a system that for too long has ignored its own structural flaws and refused to hold accountable those who have caused the deaths of black and brown Americans,” he said.
Rinehart referenced the recent deaths of Adam Toledo and Daunte Wright and said that there is “so much more work to do” in bringing more accountability and investment in communities.
He added that the verdict does not solve all of the system’s problems but “it gives us hope.”
“As criminal justice reform surged forward, as new groups and younger people joined the political process, and as our communities reverberated with intense debate and calls to action, we may have felt a renewed sense of hope about our ability to effect change,” Rinehart said.
“The jury listened to the evidence, and its verdict speaks the truth that this was murder. It is time for us to carry that truth with us, in honor of Mr. Floyd, as we go forward in this work toward justice for all,” he added.