You are reading

Queens Officials React to Derek Chauvin Verdict, Say That It’s No Time for Celebration

Protesters on Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside last year following the death of George Floyd (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

April 21, 2021 By Ryan Songalia

Elected officials across Queens praised the verdicts in the Derek Chauvin case Tuesday, but said true justice remains a work in progress.

Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was found guilty on all three charges related to the May 2020 killing of unarmed Black man George Floyd, including second-degree unintentional murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said that while the jury handed down the correct verdict it’s no time for celebration. He said he can’t overlook the times other police-linked shootings failed to return convictions.

“Although today’s decision is just and welcomed, there is no cause for celebration today,” Richards said in a statement yesterday. “No verdict will reunite George Floyd’s children with their father or his siblings with their brother. “

Derek Chauvin, the former policeman convicted of killing George Floyd. (Creative Commons image)

 “On its own, today’s ruling should not be momentous — we’ve all watched Derek Chauvin brutally murder another human being on camera. But while this trial has ended, with justice finally been served for an unarmed Black man killed by law enforcement, let this day be just the start of our shared fight to rid our criminal justice complex of the systemic racism that has infected it for centuries.”

Richards’ sentiments were echoed by his predecessor, and current Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

“Today a jury spoke for justice and accountability. We keep the family of George Floyd in our thoughts,” Katz said. “The work to ensure a fair system for all continues.”

The killing of George Floyd touched off demonstrations around the world last summer, some of which brought protesters into direct conflict with police.

New York City became a focal point for the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, including across Queens.

While more progressive neighborhoods like Sunnyside and Astoria had frequent demonstrations and marches, the conflicts were most heated in more conservative enclaves like Bayside, where Black Lives Matter counter-protesters clashed with participants of a “Back the Blue.” Meanwhile, in Whitestone, a man described as the “Whitestone Wolverine” is facing nine counts of attempted murder for targeting protesters.

Chauvin faces a maximum of 40 years in prison, though Minnesota’s presumptive guidelines for the most serious charge for someone without a prior criminal record is 12 1/2 years.

State Senator James Sanders Jr. said he felt justice had been “served to a degree” but feels the 12 1/2 year sentence Chauvin likely faces wouldn’t be long enough.

“This is the first time in my lifetime that I have seen a white police officer convicted of killing a black man,” Sanders said. “This is one small victory. There will be many more victories needed before we see true change.”

State Sen. Jessica Ramos echoed President Joe Biden’s call for congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants, while making it easier to prosecute police officers.

“Our justice system needs to do what it is supposed to do every single time, but real justice comes in fully-funded public schools, affordable & supportive housing, and healthcare for all,” Ramos said.

State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Mike Gianaris added: “Cops are not above the law and accountability should be a given. Justice has been too fleeting in our society but today, it was realized in this case. More work still to do.”

Protesters in Astoria last summer @JLa_NYC via Twitter

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said “this verdict is not a substitute for policy change.”

For Khaleel Anderson, the youngest African American to ever serve in the New York State Assembly, the case became personal.

“This verdict speaks to me and people who look like me. We matter, we matter, we matter,” Anderson said. “When murder is committed, a badge and gun should never be an excuse to kill with impunity.”

All three of the borough’s Black city council members, I. Daneek Miller, Adrienne Adams and Selvana Brooks-Powers, issued statements afterward the verdict.

“While today’s verdict brings a sense of justice and relief, it can never undo the pain endured by George Floyd’s family and loved ones, the countless others victimized and killed at the hands of police, and all those of good conscience continuously retraumatized by the systemic racism deeply embedded within law enforcement and indeed the fabric of this country,” said Miller, who represents District 27.

“We must continue to fight for change to deliver justice for communities harmed by law enforcement,” said District 28 Council Member Adams.

“I was nervous and anxious along [with] everyone else,” admits District 31 Council Member Brooks-Powers. “While this was an obvious open/close case, we know the end result doesn’t always result in accountability.

“Let us not let up in the fight for justice.”

email the author: [email protected]

8 Comments

Click for Comments 
Linda

That poor cop did nothing wrong. He was just trying to restrain a dangerous criminal. Why don’t you have the courage to print letters like this?!

6
10
Reply
The cops wife immediately filed for divorce. As soon as opportunity arisen. What did he do to her?

Linda – You’re wrong, the man was already restrained. The cop went to jail for the act of murder after he had his victim restrained. It took 9 minutes. Just watch the video.

4
2
Reply
The cop just kneeled on his neck for 9 minutes while he screamed "I can't breathe"

Or “did nothing wrong” as you put it.

Did you ask SSP to “print” your “letter?” Do you know you’re on the internet right now?

2
1
Reply
ABoondy

here let me fix that statement for you, Mike Gianaris “POLITICIANS are not above the law and accountability should be a given.” be we all know that will never happen.

10
Reply
Al Ways Aggrvd

Does this mean that we can’t riot, loot, harass diners and restaurant owners anymore? Because if it does I’d just as soon let Chauvin go.

31412
1
Reply
Jimmy Bags

Verdict in, guilty all counts and still never enough. Perhaps some community reform could lessen bad interactions with police.

Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Popular places where you can watch the Super Bowl in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Op-Ed: This Year’s State Budget Must Prioritize Climate, Jobs, and Justice for New York

Op-Ed, Jan. 30, By Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas

In a time of rampant economic inequality and environmental injustice, it is easy to feel defeated.  Here in Queens and across New York State, however, communities are organizing for a better future. New Yorkers from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences are proving that we can build community, organize, and create a future that reflects our shared values.

LaGuardia Community College receives federal funding to expand vocational training for the unemployed

Jan. 27, 2023 By Bill Parry

LaGuardia Community College recently received more than $400,000 in federal funding to enhance and expand vocational training for underemployed New Yorkers in a city that is still working to recover from COVID-19 pandemic-induced job loss. The support was secured by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and former Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.