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Colorado Leaders Applaud Chauvin Verdict, Call For Reform & End To Systemic Racism

DENVER (CBS4) - Colorado politicians and Denver metro area leaders reacted to the news of Derek Chauvin being found guilty on all three charges, second and third degree murder and second degree manslaughter, in the death of George Floyd.

Gov. Jared Polis says the conviction is a starting point for justice.

"Less than a year ago, the world watched in horror as George Floyd's life was taken from him. In the days and weeks following his tragic murder, millions of Americans took to the streets to make their voices heard, saying enough is enough. Today, we see a glimmer of hope, a glimpse of justice, but we know we are nowhere near the end of this road. This verdict does not bring back George Floyd. True justice would mean having him here with us today. Let us acknowledge this victory and use this inflection point to bend the arc of social equality toward lasting justice so this doesn't happen again. My heart goes out to the family of George Floyd, who have been forced to relive this tragedy far too many times, and to the families of countless other Black Americans who have been forced to say goodbye too soon."

U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper was among those who applauded the decision.

"Today's verdict was clear. While we welcome this verdict, let's remember that no sentence will ever bring George Floyd back to his family. No sentence can erase the trauma that his family has endured. Black Americans deserve a world in which their lives aren't threatened by the very people sworn to protect them. We must reform a broken system that continues to allow these tragedies to happen."

Colorado Senate debate
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 9 : The first live televised U.S. Senate debate Democratic former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper against Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner took place at Denver7 studio in Denver, Colorado on Friday. October 9, 2020. (Photo by Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet says he will continue to fight for equity.

Congressman Jason Crow echoed the call for reform. He represents Colorado's 6th District where Aurora police have been criticized for the death of Elijah McClain in 2019.

"I join the Floyd family and their loved ones in celebrating this verdict, but I know that no verdict can bring back their precious brother, father, and friend. Accountability is no substitution for his life and real justice would be George Floyd being alive today. Our communities hurt for George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Elijah McClain, Breonna Taylor, and so many other Black men and women who've had their lives cut short as a result of a racist system. This pain is bigger than one trial in Minneapolis can heal. We must tackle the systemic racism that is embedded in our criminal justice system, our government, and every facet of our society head-on."

Jason Crow
Rep. Jason Crow, a Democrat who represents Colorado's 6th Congressional District. (credit: CBS)

Congresswoman Diana DeGette says she hopes the verdict on April 20 in Minneapolis serves as a catalyst for change.

"What happened to George Floyd should never happen to anyone in this country ever again. Based on the evidence presented at trial, I believe the jury made the right decision in this case. While today's verdict is a much-needed win in our battle for justice, there is still so much more work that needs to be done to end the violence that too many Black Americans have experienced at the hands of our police. Today's decision should send a clear message to all those who swear to protect and serve our communities that no one in this county is above the law. My hope is that today's verdict will be a turning point in our nation's history and helps bring us together to enact the changes that our country so desperately needs."

Rep. Diana DeGette (D) Colorado (credit: CBS)

Rep. Ed Perlmutter joined many others in saying more needs to be done.

"The murder of George Floyd was a terrible, brutal tragedy and should never have happened. George Floyd's family and his community deserved justice in this case and I'm glad to see that today justice was served. We still have a lot of work to do in this country to address the inequality and injustice that exists. I'm glad the U.S. House has taken a first step in passing legislation to reform police practices and hold bad actors accountable."

Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold and Interim Boulder City Manager Chris Meschuk reflected on the verdict saying they recognize the pain caused by "the murder of George Floyd." They shared intentions to better define the department's role in the community in a new Master Plan.

Boulder PD Grocery Store Shooting LU7_frame_22177
Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold (credit: CBS)

"We have a robust strategic police reform action plan, including placing the sanctity of human life at the center of every police-community member encounter," they stated in a news release.

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