Former president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama reassured the deeply wounded nation that “a jury did the right thing” in the Derek Chauvin verdict, while urging social-justice warriors to take additional action.
Today, a jury did the right thing. But true justice requires much more. Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, and we stand with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied. pic.twitter.com/mihZQHqACV
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 20, 2021
“For almost a year, George Floyd’s death under the knee of a police officer has reverberated around the world—inspiring murals and marches, sparking conversations in living rooms and new legislation,” Obama said in a lengthy statement posted Tuesday on Twitter. “But a more basic question has always remained: would justice be done?”
Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was convicted on all three counts: second- and third-degree murder, as well as manslaughter.
He could face up to 40 years in prison, with sentencing due to take place in approximately eight weeks.
Chauvin also faces the prospect of a civil trial and charges stemming from a Justice Department civil rights investigation.
Many wondered if the outcome were cause for celebration amid reports that mob justice had prevailed, including witness intimidation and possible threats against jurors, whose biographical information was published ahead of the verdict.
It comes as police nationwide remain on edge over a recent spate of police shootings, which has resulted in a new outbreak of violent race-riots in cities still recovering from last year’s months of sustained violence.
With his signature erudition, Obama—whose rhetoric helped foment rioting and racial divisions during his own administration—seemed unfazed by the perversion of justice and the deadly implications for law-enforcement.
“Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, in the hopes that they may find peace,” he said. “And we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied.”
Obama also used the statement to note the importance of additional progress regarding racism in the criminal justice system.
“We cannot rest. We will need to follow through with the concrete reforms that will reduce and ultimately eliminate racial bias in our criminal justice system.”
It was unclear what reforms he was referring to specifically. Democrats currently in power have proposed several drastic measures, including defunding or abolishing the police, as well as packing the courts.
Tuesday’s grandstanding did not mark the first time Obama has weighed in on the current police crisis.
Following Floyd’s death in May 2020, Obama said such events “shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America.”
The former president also stated, “I cried when I saw that video. It broke me down.”
The recent statement followed Obama’s call last week for an investigation into the police shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man shot by a police officer during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis.
Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.