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Arizona leaders react to Chauvin guilty verdict in George Floyd’s death

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 20: People celebrate the guilty verdict in the Dereck Chauvin trail at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue on April 20, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis, Minnesota Police officer was found guilty of all three charges in the murder of George Floyd. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona leaders reacted Tuesday after a jury found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three charges in the May 2020 death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

The jury, made up of six white people and six Black or multiracial people, found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, with the most serious charge carrying up to 40 years in prison.

Floyd died last May after Chauvin, a 45-year-old now-fired white officer, pinned his knee on the 46-year-old Black man’s neck for about 9 1/2 minutes.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey tweeted the ruling brings justice in the death of Floyd.

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone echoed Ducey.

Democratic U.S. Reps. Tom O’Halleran, Ann Kirkpatrick, Raul Grijalva and Greg Stanton as well as Sen. Kyrsten Sinema recognized the ruling as a step in the right direction for trust and equity.

“I hope this trial’s conclusion brings some level of healing and solace to George Floyd’s loved ones, as we continue working toward a future in which all Americans have equal protection under the law,” Sinema said in a statement.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs called the verdict “an important step toward accountability.”

Arizona Sen. Martin Quezada called the guilty verdict a momentous day in American history, but more work needs to be done.

“We may have achieved justice in this trial, but Chauvin is only one officer who was held accountable, and George Floyd is still dead,” Quezada said in a statement.

“The fact that there was uncertainty and hopelessness about the outcome of the verdict, after overwhelmingly clear evidence that Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd, is reflective of how much work we need to do to achieve true justice for Black and Brown victims of police violence in America. We should use this verdict as the starting point for real reform of how we envision and guarantee public safety in our communities.

“It’s time we hear the voices that have been protesting for generations about police brutality against communities of color. If “a riot is the language of the unheard” as Martin Luther King Jr. has said, then policymakers have ignorantly had our heads in the sand for too long.”

Three other former Minneapolis officers charged with aiding and abetting murder in Floyd’s death will stand trial in August.

In the wake of Floyd’s death, demonstrations and scattered violence broke out in Minneapolis and around the country with numerous states and cities in the following months restricting the use of force by police, revamping disciplinary systems or subjecting police departments to closer oversight.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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