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Chauvin verdict a 'profound moment,' Cleaver says

George Floyd Officer Trial Washington
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APTOPIX George Floyd Officer Trial
APTOPIX George Floyd Officer Trial
George Floyd Officer Trial Washington
Posted at 2:36 PM, Apr 20, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS — Several Kansas City metro leaders, educators and activists reacted Tuesday to the guilty verdict in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin.

Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, guilty of third-degree murder and guilty of manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

41 Action News documented the responses in real-time.

UPDATE, 8:50 p.m. | The Hickman Mills School District announced it will have counselors available for students who would like to discuss the Chauvin trial and verdict.

"MC-1 remains steadfastly committed to interrupting, correcting and addressing practices that perpetuate institutional racism," the district said in a statement. "We have a profound responsibility to our students and their families. We vow to continue to build trust in our community, be vigilant and consistent in ensuring that everyone in our learning community has access to equity training, and hold ourselves to high standards of accountability."

UPDATE, 8:02 p.m. | David Alvey, mayor of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, reflected in a statement Tuesday night on coming together with religious and community leaders, as well as law enforcement, to "condemn" Chauvin's actions last year.

"Since then, like so many others across this nation, we have worked to engage in an open, respectful and candid dialogue on all matters of race, creating a culture that values the dignity and life of all persons," Alvey said in the statement. "With establishment of the Mayor’s Take Force on Community and Police Relations soon after, we created a forum for real conversation and change that must take place, working to expand education and awareness, reviewing and improving policing policies and procedures, and building trust, interaction, and inclusiveness among all groups in our historically diverse community.

Let us use today as a way to honor George Floyd’s legacy, with people of every race and nationality and social and economic conditions working together for continued change. As much as we have done, and are doing, there is always more to be done to ensure justice, equity, and respect for all."

UPDATE, 7:19 p.m. | Congressman Emanual Cleaver called Chauvin's guilty verdict a "profound moment in the battle for the soul of our nation."

“Today is not a day for celebration, but rather a day for restoration," Cleaver said. "Restoration of faith in our justice system. Restoration of accountability in law enforcement. Restoration of humanity in a system that too often dehumanizes entire swaths of the American population."

But he also said that there is a "long road" ahead.

“We must continue to peacefully speak out, using today’s verdict as a catalyst for desperately needed reform in America’s policing system," Cleaver said.

UPDATE, 6:52 p.m. | Kansas City attorney Greg Watt also reacted to Chauvin verdict.

Kansas City attorney Greg Watt reacts to Chauvin verdict

UPDATE, 6:41 p.m. | Gwen Grant, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, reacted Tuesday to the guilty verdict in the trial of the murder of George Floyd.

Urban League of Greater Kansas City reacts to Floyd verdict

UPDATE, 6:15 p.m. | MORE2, a Kansas City metro social justice organization, said in a statement that Chauvin's verdict showed a "glimmer of justice," but advocates must deepen their resolve to eliminate racism.

"Nearly 1,000 people are killed every year by law enforcement officers in our nation," the statement read. "In Kansas City, about five people are killed every year by police and there are even more officer-involved shootings throughout our metropolitan region. The laws that were seen as designed to protect police officers, regardless of their behavior, need to be reversed to protect us, all of us, who police should serve."

MORE2 is among the local groups urging local control of the KCPD and said in the statement its members will "continue to demand new leadership."

UPDATE, 6:05 p.m. | As the guilty verdict came down Tuesday, activists in Kansas City, Missouri, continued to push for change within KCPD.

UPDATE, 5:40 p.m. | Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has posted her reaction on Twitter.

UPDATE, 5:30 p.m. | Rep. Sharice Davids (D - Kansas) has issued a statement following Tuesday's verdict, saying the ruling should serve as a point to continue the work of justice.

UPDATE, 5:21 p.m. | Kansas City-area activist Stacy Shaw, who has maintained a presence at local protests in the past year since George Floyd's death, said she cried when the Chauvin's guilty verdict was announced.

UPDATE, 5:09 p.m. | Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. said in a statement that the guilty verdict is a result of people of all ages and races saying, "Enough is enough."

“Watching the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a man who had sworn to serve and protect him was one of the most painful experiences I have witnessed in my lifetime — a lifetime in which I have personally experienced racism, hate and discrimination," White said. "Unfortunately, Mr. Floyd’s tragic murder is one of many that we have seen repeated countless times against people of color — particularly black men. And in each of those times, our community gathered loudly, passionately and peacefully for justice."

Black Rainbow KC, which held a vigil earlier this week, also said in a statement that while the verdict might bring joy, they "cannot delight in the fact that he will be in a cage."

"A guilty verdict does not stop the police from killing us nor will it motivate officers to do better. True justice would be George Floyd alive. True justice would be police abolition," the statement said. "While the trial has concluded, the underlying conditions in Kansas City and the United States have not changed."

The group also noted Black men and women locally who have died during interaction with police – Donnie Sanders, Ryan Stokes, Terrance Bridges, Breona Hill and Cameron Lambk.

UPDATE, 5:06 p.m. | Kansas City-area faith leaders have gathered in the 18th & Vine District to share their thoughts on Chauvin's guilty verdict.

UPDATE, 5:05 p.m. | The Jackson County Prosecutor's Office issued a one-sentence statement, saying only, "Justice is served."

UPDATE, 4:43 p.m. | Kansas City, Missouri, District 4 Councilman Eric Bunch said in a tweet the justice system "brought a murderer to account for his actions," but continued to push for changes.

"But, in a just society those who are sworn to protect are not murderers," Bunch tweeted. "George Floyd and countless other Black lives should still be with us. A million guilty verdicts will not bring them back. Change the system."

UPDATE, 4:37 p.m. | Kansas City area activist Justice Horn tweeted that Chauvin's guilty verdict is what protesters have been marching for.

Horn previously told 41 Action News the goal was to "never have to protest again."

George Floyd Officer Trial Washington
Kamaile Elderts and Joseph Ravago listen to news reports as they wait Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Washington, to hear the verdict in Minneapolis, in the murder trial against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was announced.

UPDATE, 4:34 p.m. | Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu also responded to the verdict.

UPDATE, 4:31 p.m. | NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace also showed his support for the verdict.

UPDATE, 4:27 p.m. | The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department released a statement that said it supports the criminal justice system and "the outcome in which it resulted in this case."

"The announcement of the verdict will spark powerful emotions in our community," the statement said. "Everyone is entitled to express those emotions and make their thoughts heard. It is the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department’s mission to safeguard and protect the Constitutional rights of all individuals participating in First Amendment activities and assemblies."

UPDATE, 4:24 p.m. | The Minnesota Timberwolves also expressed appreciation for the guilty verdict.

UPDATE, 4:21 p.m. | Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes also responded on social media following the verdict.

UPDATE, 4:17 p.m. | Minutes after the verdict was announced, Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor, Quinton Lucas tweeted in favor of the verdict, calling it the "right result."

UPDATE, 4:11 p.m. | Chauvin’s bail was revoked after the jury convicted him on all three counts. He has been remanded into custody.

UPDATE | Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of second-degree murder, guilty of third-degree murder and guilty of manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

EARLIER | A Minnesota jury has reached a verdict in murder trial of ex-cop Derek Chauvin in George Floyd’s death -- will be read Tuesday afternoon, possibly around 4 p.m.

Latest story updates here.

This is a developing story and will be updated.