AUSTIN (KXAN) — Sen. Royce West stood in his office in the Texas Capitol, eyes glued to the television screen as the judge in Derek Chauvin’s trial read out the verdict: guilty on all three counts in the death of George Floyd.
“What’s crossing my mind is the system actually worked for a change, and I think that maybe, and hopefully this will lower the temperature some in this country and in this state as it relates to these types of issues,” said the Democratic senator who introduced a bill this legislative session called the “George Floyd Act” which, among other things, would ban police officers’ use of chokeholds.
The jury determined former Minneapolis police officer Chauvin’s actions during the arrest of Floyd led to his death. It convicted him on second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.
West said the “surge of evidence” made it clear to both him and the jury that Chauvin didn’t follow police procedures and policies.
“You can’t sit up and tell me that a person puts his knee on someone’s neck for nine minutes and not know what he’s doing. It was real clear that the jury felt the same way, because they came back after what — 11 hours. It was real clear on all the different counts,” West said.
Chauvin will be sentenced in about eight weeks.
As the news of the conviction on all counts for Chauvin was announced, state and local leaders’ reactions began pouring in.
The Texas Democrats’ statement focused on the sense of solace the verdict provides and reflected on the millions of people who protested “in collective grief and outrage” at Floyd’s death last summer. But, it also called out the deep need to keep addressing inequalities of the justice system.
“Today’s verdict is a small step towards the dismantling of the gargantuan barrier that has prevented justice for so many families and communities affected by this national epidemic of senseless killing of Black Americans. It is a small step towards healing,” Texas Democratic Party Bice Chair Dr. Carla Brailey said.
Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn haven’t shared a specific reaction to the verdict as of an hour after it was read. Neither has Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Meanwhile, Floyd family attorney Ben Crump immediately tweeted:
“GUILTY! Painfully earned justice has finally arrived for George Floyd’s family. This verdict is a turning point in history and sends a clear message on the need for accountability of law enforcement. Justice for Black America is justice for all of America!”
Crump said President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden called Floyd’s family after the verdict was read.