Council President Breean Beggs issued the following statement in response to the verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

“A Hennepin County Jury found former Officer Derek Chauvin guilty of all the murder charges leveled against him in connection with his killing of George Floyd.  Many have celebrated this outcome as justice, but so many other families have failed to find justice in our court system under similar circumstances.  People of color in our community and across the nation are still afraid that they will unjustly be assaulted or killed by law enforcement for no good reason.  I hope that this conviction after the full due process will be at least a small step towards broader community reconciliation.  

Spokane community members and their police officers have been walking down the road of attempted reconciliation since the death of Otto Zehm was similarly resolved by a jury verdict against an officer in 2011.  Despite good intentions by many, this road of reconciliation has been rocky.  Dozens of reforms have been implemented, but there is a tremendous amount of more work to be accomplished until our police are perceived as peace officers by all they serve.   

In my opinion, we are still closer to the beginning of the community healing process than the end.  But we are farther ahead than we were last year, and together we can move even farther ahead in the coming weeks and months.  The progress to date is cold comfort for those who are still living in fear or who have lost loved ones.  I commit to keep working to reconcile our entire community and to create a new public safety culture until everyone can fully participate in our community without fear.  We all belong in Spokane, and our justice system and its first responders should reflect that principle in every respect.”