Governor praises Chauvin verdict, but says there is more to do

Elizabeth Elkind
·2 min read
Governor praises Chauvin verdict, but says there is more to do

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz says his constituents are "breathing that sigh of relief" Wednesday morning after a jury convicted former officer Derek Chauvin on three counts for the killing of George Floyd — but there is more work to be done.

"That white-hot spotlight that's been on us since we and the world watched George Floyd being murdered feels different today. Now we're the state that convicted George Floyd's murderer," he told "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King in Minnesota.

However, Walz said the spotlight of scrutiny should not end with the trial.

"My fear is everybody packs up and we think we've got this. As I've been saying, this is the floor. This is the very basic floor of what should be done," he said. 

What happened to George Floyd outside of Cup Foods on May 25, 2020, he said, "is everything we need to change."

"What I'm hearing from folks is, now let's start the hard work."

In the immediate aftermath of Floyd's killing, Minnesota implemented a ban on police chokeholds.

Walz said the move was a "not a big lift" and acknowledged activists' calls for further reform.

"You need to make sure that mental health folks are responding to these. You need to make sure that traffic stops are not reasons to arrest folks and lead to these confrontations you see," he said. "Now is that moment."

The governor, who was a schoolteacher before he took office and is also married to one, also advocated for reform to start in the classroom. 

"Education inequities — we do very well for our White children, we don't do well for our Black children. So now's the time to say let's invest in education, let's invest in health care disparities," he said. 

Walz lauded the prosecutors in the case, but said the difference in his and Black Minnesotans' expectations of the outcome highlighted palpable disparities in the justice system.

"I do think there is the sense of — we're celebrating something that should have been so clear cut and normal, but it's not for Black Minnesotans and Black Americans," he said.

Walz said he spoke with Black constituents before the trial who expected a different result.

"They said this has happened time and time again and it doesn't work," he said. "I would talk to Black Minnesotans who would say we don't believe that, it never works that way. And I think that just highlights where that gap is, and how big it is."

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