HARRISBURG – April 21, 2021 – State Senator Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia) released the following statement in response to the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial:

“Today, I am relieved that a jury convicted former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin on all charges in the murder of George Floyd.  In May 2020, Chauvin murdered Floyd by placing a knee on his neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds as Floyd pleaded, ‘I can’t breathe’ and called out for his mother.  The widely circulated video was shocking, disheartening, and upsetting. 

I salute the Black Lives Matter protesters across Pennsylvania who took a stand for racial justice, spoke out against systemic racism, and used their voice to demand action.  This murder challenged our entire nation and influenced the world to rally for change.

While this verdict is a relief, the system that permitted his death remains.  Fundamental reform is still required.  That reform in Pennsylvania includes independent investigations of police-involved killings, limiting immunity for police departments for wrongful acts, and banning kneeholds and chokeholds.  We must change the system to prevent killings like this from happening in the first place.

I extend my heartfelt sympathy to Floyd’s family, including his children.  Although there is no bringing George Floyd back, I hope this verdict will be a step towards peace and justice.”