Members of the Iowa House Black Caucus are expressing both relief and resolve after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder and manslaughter today for causing George Floyd’s death.
Representative Ras Smith, a Democrat from Waterloo, said he had to go on a walk after he heard the jury’s verdict.
“The relief that I felt was confusing,” Smith said, “confusing because justice felt like a relief.”
Smith posted a short video on Twitter, expressing his thoughts about George Floyd’s death nearly a year ago. Smith said the case shows the truth behind the fight for equity for Blacks in America.
“It gets us through this time, but real accountability, real change, true justice is what gets us through a lifetime,” Smith said. “…The arc of justice does not bend on its own. We have to apply pressure…There is so much more work to be done.”
Representative Ako Abdul-Samad, a Democrat from Des Moines, posted a statement on Twitter. “We must continue the struggle for systemic change,” he said.
Representative Ross Wilburn, a Democrat from Ames, said while thankful for the jury’s decision, “one verdict doesn’t make up for the preventable violence” and systemic racism that continue to plague communities of color across the country. Wilburn, who is also chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, said Iowans “cannot be silent…or ignore the ongoing need” for criminal justice reform.