ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — The Atlanta-based attorneys who represent George Floyd’s family are celebrating after the guilty verdict of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.
The guilty verdict comes nearly a year after Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds. “We can say none of us have cried this much, including the family, probably since we were children,” said L. Chris Stewart, one of the partners of the law firm. “Hopefully, today will begin positive change with interactions between citizens, especially African Americans and minorities, and law enforcement,” Stewart said in a Zoom press conference later that evening.READ MORE: College Park breaks ground on Gateway Pedestrian Bridge and Trail
Family members and the attorneys were more than relieved, knowing the outcome could have turned out differently. The historic decision was felt around the world and here in Georgia, where state and local leaders expressed gratitude. “The anticipation of yesterday, I think, was felt by all of us. The work continues. We’re gonna continue with what we’re doing with criminal justice,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Now that the trial is over, Justin Miller, another partner with the firm, said he was looking forward to spending time with his children. “I was very happy and very relieved that this thing finally turned out the way it should have turned out,” he said. “It definitely was a great day for Minnesota, and we think it was a great day for the country.” “The jurors here in Minneapolis sent a message that no matter who you are, what you look like or what your job is, we’re gonna hold wrongdoers accountable,” said Madeleine Simmons, another partner.READ MORE: Authorities Have Identified The Suspect Who Attacked Author Salman Rushdie
Stewart said this trial sets a precedent for future cases. “It’s history making. It’s the first time in Minnesota history that an officer has gone to jail for second degree murder,” he said, adding it’s also the first time an officer there had been charged with killing an African American.
They say this is a big step in the right direction. “We need to see real reform to policing. We need to see better training,” said Miller. “We need to be raising the officers that actually care about the community and putting behind bars officers like Derek Chauvin,” Stewart said.MORE NEWS: Anne Heche's Son Mourns His Mother
Atlanta and several Georgia counties have adopted a number of criminal justice and police reform measures over the last year. Attorneys and lawmakers have continued pushing for federal police reform legislation.