This afternoon, a jury returned a guilty verdict in the trial of former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin over the murder of George Floyd. Chauvin, who was caught on video kneeling on Floyd's neck for over nine minutes until his death, was convicted on all three charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The verdict has drawn out a broad range of responses and reactions, with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison summing up this moment's bittersweet catharsis by saying, "I would not call today's verdict justice, however — because justice implies restoration. But it is accountability."
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, on the other hand, is drawing criticism for what many are calling a tone deaf response to today's news. In a press conference held outside the Capitol shortly after the verdict was announced, Pelosi thanked Floyd for "sacrificing your life for justice."
She continued, thanking Floyd "for being there to call out to your mom — how heartbreaking was that? — call out to your mom, 'I can't breathe.' But because of you and because of thousands, millions of people around the world who came out for justice, your name will always be synonymous with justice."
People online were quick to criticize Pelosi's statement. The fact remains that Floyd did not choose to be murdered by the police and any push towards tackling this country's systemic problems with policing shouldn't have to come at the cost of his — or anyone else's — life.
Pelosi has since attempted to clarify her remarks, tweeting out a statement: "George Floyd should be alive today," she wrote. "His family's calls for justice for his murder were heard around the world. He did not die in vain. We must make sure other families don't suffer the same racism, violence & pain, and we must enact the George Floyd #JusticeInPolicing Act."
Photo via Getty/ Bill Clark/ CQ-Roll Call, Inc