Massachusetts politicians were quick to weigh in Tuesday evening as the nation reacted to news that a jury in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin of charges stemming from the death of George Floyd.
Chauvin, a 45-year-old white man, was convicted on three counts of murder and manslaughter for kneeling on Floyd's neck for about 9 1/2 minutes last May. Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died from his injuries.
At a press conference after the verdict was read, Floyd's family and their legal team called on the U.S. Senate to pass H.R.7120, a policing reform bill that bears Floyd's name and that passed the House last June. Sens. Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren are original co-sponsors on the Senate version of that bill.
"George Floyd should still be alive — and we must keep fighting to dismantle systemic racism and fundamentally transform our justice system," Warren tweeted after the verdict.
"We must do more to hold law enforcement accountable," Markey said in a series of tweets. "Abolish qualified immunity. Demilitarize the police. Ban facial recognition surveillance. And so much more. Today is only one step in the long march to true justice for Black and brown Americans."
Rep. Ayanna Pressley, an orginal co-sponsor on the House bill, tweeted that there will never be "true justice" for Floyd and his family.
"Today, a jury delivered accountability and Chauvin will face consequences for his actions," Pressley said. "But be clear: the legal system in America remains deeply unjust. We must end qualified immunity which has allowed many who commit acts of state-sanctioned violence to evade accountability."
Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, said in a statement said that while “nothing can reverse the pain, suffering and agony of George Floyd’s family and friends ... this decision does make clear that Officer Chauvin was not above the law. He was given a fair trial, found guilty, and he will pay a price for his actions."
"Massachusetts enacted one of the most comprehensive police training, transparency and accountability laws in the country at the end of last year," Baker added. "We owe it to all those whose lives have been lost to do all we can to successfully implement that law, and sustain its aspirations far into the future."
State Senate President Karen Spilka, a Democrat, said in a statement that the verdict brought "a glimpse of hope for more accountability, and ultimately, justice."
"I will continue to call on the Massachusetts State Senate to be intentional in our policymaking, and view all legislation through the lens of racial justice in order to break down the systemic barriers that have unfairly burdened generations of Black and brown people," she added. "As Senate President, I am personally committed to the hard work that will be required of all of us to make our Commonwealth a more equitable and just place."
At a press conference Tuesday night with other local officials, acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey spoke of her own experience as a Black woman and vowed to continue reforms in city policing, contracting, housing and education.
"As a grandmother of teenage boys, a Black woman who has felt the need to tread lightly in a world that criminalizes my blackness, as a community organizer who has dedicated my career to racial justice, as the first Black mayor and the first woman mayor of the city of Boston, I continue to pray for the family of George Floyd," Janey said. "And I know the importance of the African proverb, 'When you pray, move your feet.' And our work here in the city of Boston must continue. I commend the jury and the prosecutor in this case. George Floyd's name now represents the urgency of racial reckoning and police reform across our country."
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins also spoke at Tusday's press conference, saying that she was "grateful for every single police officer that testified — that stood up and said out loud, with their actions, ‘We are a noble profession, and this man does not represent us and the good work we do every single day.'"
“I ask and urge that those of you who feel compelled to demonstrate, that you do so peacefully, without violence or harm," she added. "And for my brothers and sisters in law enforcement who may be called out because of demonstrations, I ask that you try and understand the immense pain and trauma, frustration and anguish, some of us are feeling."
Boston city councilor and mayoral candidate Michelle Wu said in a tweet that people in Boston "join Minneapolis & the country in feeling a drop of relief, but not justice."
"George Floyd should still be alive," Wu added. "Our fight against police violence, anti-Black racism & white supremacy isn't over. For George & so many others, we won't be complacent."
City Councilor Andrea Campbell, also running for Boston mayor, echoed the same sentiments as Baker, Wu, Rollins and others.
"Justice would be George Floyd alive today," Campbell tweeted. "But at least Derek Chauvin will be held responsible. Transforming our criminal legal system remains a life & death proposition for Black residents. It should not take [a] Black man being murdered on camera for police to be held accountable."
State Rep. Jon Santiago, who is also running for Boston mayor, called for "healing."
"It is incumbent on us to root out racism, brutality, and abuses of power," he tweeted.
John Barros, Boston's former economic development chief and another mayoral candidate, called on the city to enact "meaningful" police reforms.
"As the father of four Black children, I fear that their names could someday be added to that long list of Black and brown Americans who have died from police violence," he tweeted. "I thank God that today's guilty verdict was reached. But we have a long way to go until all Americans are guaranteed the same freedoms and dignities."