Former President Obama said Tuesday that the jury in the Derek Chauvin trial “did the right thing” by finding the former Minneapolis police officer guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd, but that much more needs to be done to reduce racial inequity in the US.
“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 44th president said in a statement that was also attributed to former First Lady Michelle Obama.
“True justice requires that we come to terms with the fact that Black Americans are treated differently, every day,” the country’s only black president wrote.
“It requires us to recognize that millions of our friends, family, and fellow citizens live in fear that their next encounter with law enforcement could be their last,” Obama added.
“While today’s verdict may have been a necessary step on the road to progress, it was far from a sufficient once,” the statement read. “We cannot rest.”
The Obamas said that criminal justice reforms, activism and expanded economic opportunities for people of color are needed to level the playing field in the US, but said Floyd’s death and Tuesday’s verdict could serve as a touchstone.
“As we continue the fight, we can draw strength from the millions of people — especially young people — who have marched and protested and spoken up over the last year, shining a light on inequity and calling for change,” Obama said.
“The color of a person’s skin far too often determines how they will be treated in nearly every aspect of American life,” the Democrat said.
“While the verdict won’t bring George Floyd back, it can help us prevent more senseless deaths, and hasten the day when we are all treated equally in matters of life, liberty, dignity, respect and opportunity.”
Former President George W. Bush discussed the trial on an interview with NBC Tuesday morning, but did not offer his opinion on the case.
Former President Donald Trump and ex-President Jimmy Carter did not immediately react to the verdict.
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