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Tampa Bay Leaders Say Justice Was Served By Derek Chauvin Verdict

Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media
In a statement, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, said Floyd's family — and the nation — saw "justice finally being served."

Several politicians and leaders across the greater Tampa Bay region issued statements expressing relief following the guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin.

Leaders and political figures from the greater Tampa Bay region and across the state took to social media on Tuesday afternoon after a jury found Derek Chauvin guilty on all three counts in the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

After the verdict was announced, several leaders said justice was served, while acknowledging much must still be done to heal racial tensions across the country.

In a statement, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, said Floyd's family — and the nation — saw "justice finally being served."

"Derek Chauvin broke his promise to serve and protect the people of Minneapolis and for his actions he has been held accountable," the statement read. "Our nation now has one less bad cop out on the street, and while I join millions of Americans in breathing a sigh of relief, there is still so much more we must do.

“We will and must continue to work towards a better, more just and equal tomorrow – where the color of our skin does not determine whether we get to live or die. I pray for the Floyd family, I pray for Minneapolis, and I pray for our nation. Justice has been served. May George Floyd rest in peace.”

At the end of a previously scheduled meeting of the Community Task Force on Policing Tuesday evening, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor — who served as Tampa's police chief from 2009-2015 — spoke about the jury's decision.

"I'm not sure that there was any conclusion that could be reached other than a guilty verdict on each of those charges. And the unfortunate part of all of it is that, George Floyd, it doesn't bring him back," Castor said. "But what may become his legacy is a change in policing nationwide, and that focus on law enforcement, where everybody, as we have been doing here for several months, everybody is involved, everybody understands the level of responsibility, and everybody is willing to step up and to help out. And this is the start for us."

"We should all think of George Floyd and his horrible death at the hands of that Minneapolis police officer, but also understand that he doesn't represent law enforcement across the nation. But George Floyd's death, the one positive part is that he will bring change nationally to local policing. And for that, he will live on forever."

Said Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister in a tweet: "There is not, and never will be, justification for the murder of George Floyd at the hands of former Officer Derek Chauvin. Derek Chauvin does not represent the character, integrity, and honor of the thousands of men and women of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office."

Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren also tweeted, saying, "When George Floyd was murdered, we didn’t just hang our heads—we intensified our work to reform our justice system. Now that Derek Chauvin has been convicted, we can’t just nod our heads—we must keep driving toward the goal of equal justice for all."

Other legislators praised the jury for "delivering justice."

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried — widely seen as a potential candidate to run against Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022 — said she hopes verdict "brings George Floyd's family some solace."

University of South Florida President Steven Currall issued a statement on behalf of the school, talking about the case while also highlighting ongoing efforts at the school to address racial disparities.

In part, it read, "Painful events do not easily give way to understanding and change, but they can build solidarity and reveal commonalities across groups, especially with sustained and intentional commitment. We value unity at USF, and it is our collaborative spirit and commitment to positive change that will sustain us through these difficult times, and propel us toward a more just and equitable future."

I wasn't always a morning person. After spending years as a nighttime sports copy editor and page designer, I made the move to digital editing in 2000. Turns out, it was one of the best moves I've ever made.
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