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Barack and Michelle Obama respond to the guilty verdict in Derek Chauvin trial

Erica Gonzales
·2-min read
Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla - Getty Images

Former president and first lady, Barack and Michelle Obama, took to social media to commend the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd - but the couple also acknowledged that this guilty verdict is just one step "on the road to progress".

"Today, a jury in Minneapolis did the right thing," the Obamas wrote in a joint statement, addressing the verdict announced this afternoon. In the decision, Chauvin, who kneeled on Floyd's neck for over nine minutes last May, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter charges.

"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," the statement continued. "But a more basic question has always remained: would justice be done?

"In this case, at least, we have our answer. But if we're being honest with ourselves, we know that true justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial."

The Obamas went on to explain that "true justice requires that we come to terms with the fact that Black Americans are treated differently, every day." The fight for justice and equality doesn't end here, they pointed out.

"While today's verdict may have been a necessary step on the road to progress, it was far from a sufficient one," they added. "We cannot rest. We will need to follow through with the concrete reforms that will reduce and ultimately end racial bias in our criminal justice system. We will need to redouble efforts to expand economic opportunity for those communities that have been too long marginalised."

They also gave a shout out to those who marched in protests and made their voices heard last year, especially the younger Americans. "Justice is closer today not simply because of this verdict, but because of their work."

The couple ended their statement by extending warmth to Floyd's loved ones. "Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, in hopes that they may find peace. 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."

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