Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd in the highly anticipated trial that ended Tuesday, prompting an immediate response by many AAPI leaders and activists.
Horrific footage of the unarmed Black man’s death last year sparked worldwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism. Tou Thao, the Hmong American police officer who was seen nearby Chauvin as he knelt down on Floyd’s neck for roughly nine minutes created even further discussion about anti-Blackness within AAPI communities, reported The Yappie
Thao and two other officers at the scene will be tried later in August.
Following the verdict, Representative Judy Chu, the chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus who has previously been outspoken
about racial injustice toward the AAPI community, commented that George Floyd would still be alive were it not for a system that targeted the Black community.
“Today’s verdict brings accountability for the murder of George Floyd, who should and would be alive right now were it not for a system that permits and too often excuses the use of excessive force—predominantly against Black people,” she said.
Representative Marilyn Strickland also said in a statement that she was relieved by the verdict and wants to push for legislation that would address issues in policing.
“My heart goes out to the family of George Floyd, the residents of Minneapolis, and people across the country. I am relieved that a jury held Chauvin accountable for murder, and it is my sincere hope that this guilty on all counts verdict is the first step in the long march towards justice. The U.S. Senate has no more excuses. It’s time to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to rebuild trust in policing and improve public safety for all people, regardless of zip code or background.”
Senator Tammy Duckworth tweeted a message that mirrored Strickland’s.
Duckworth also commented on Chauvin’s betrayal of the oath as an officer to protect and serve, adding that the verdict is only a step toward justice.
Organizations such as the Asian Law Caucus and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund have also tweeted responses to the verdict.
Despite the verdict’s step toward advancing racial justice, it does not undo the longstanding history of trauma resulting from systemic racism, Vice President Kamala Harris said in an interview with CNN
during the trial on Tuesday.
“This verdict is but a piece of it,” Harris said. “And it will not heal the pain that existed for generations, that has existed for generations among people who have experienced and first-hand witnessed what now a broader public is seeing because of smartphones and the ubiquity of our ability to videotape in real time what is happening in front of our faces. And that is the reality of it.”
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