The high-profile trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin concluded on Tuesday afternoon with a guilty verdict for all three counts (unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter) that Chauvin was charged with in the May 2020 murder of George Floyd.
It was a verdict that a lot of people were hoping for, one that signifies some measure of accountability and justice. However, there is a lot more work to be done when it comes to reforming the system of policing in this country and fighting against racism, injustice, and inequality.
The Vikings, who were active in their response to Floyd's murder last year, released the following statement after the verdict was announced.
"The past year following George Floyd's death has been extremely painful for the Minnesota community, particularly for State's Black residents. While today's decision does not minimize the anguish or solve the intolerable issues of racism and hate, we hope it can mark the beginning of community healing.
Now, more than ever, it is crucial to respectfully listen, communicate, and engage in order for us to move toward an equitable society. We must address the unacceptable continued violence and hate toward People of Color and commit to using our individual and collective voices to end the divisiveness and racial injustice.
Our work is just beginning. Our commitment is unwavering. As an organization, we will build upon the foundation we have already established in the following critical areas: reducing socioeconomic disparities, implementing educational curriculum on racism and Black history and advocating for law enforcement and criminal justice reform. We will continue to be agents for positive, transformational, and sustainable change."
The NFL also released a statement:
Several Vikings players, both current and former, reacted on Twitter.
As a reminder, here's some of the action taken by the Vikings organization and its players last year after Floyd was killed.
- Several players attended Floyd's memorial service to show their support.
- Several players helped organize supply drives in the community.
- Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr, who are two leaders of the team's social justice committee, called out the NFL for not taking action.
- The Wilf family donated $5 million dollars to social justice causes.
- The Vikings' social justice committee formed several initiatives to create change and hosted a Zoom call with reporters in which they discussed those initiatives and gave their thoughts on racial injustice and police brutality.
- After a scrimmage at U.S. Bank Stadium in August, Ameer Abdullah gave an impassioned speech about the change that needs to happen — while nearly the entire team stood behind him.
- Kendricks was at the forefront of it all, and was named the Vikings' Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee for all of the work he did. (This story from SI's Greg Bishop is phenomenal.)
The Vikings also recently put out a statement after 20-year-old Black man Daunte Wright was killed in nearby Brooklyn Park, MN.
Today's verdict was a step in the right direction, but justice won't be achieved until every cop who murders someone is held accountable and these things stop happening altogether.