Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) said on Tuesday that while the jury “got it right” when it rendered a guilty verdict against former police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, further action was needed to ensure that public policy grants equal protection under the law.
“The jury got it right today, but that won’t bring George Floyd back,” Warnock said during an MSNBC interview on Tuesday night.
The Georgia lawmaker warned that the jury’s decision was not a “substitute” for the advancement of public policy measures aimed at ensuring families in the future do not suffer in the way that Floyd’s has in the wake of his murder.
“We have got to make sure that our communities are safe and that we do everything we can to bend that arc closer to justice,” Warnock said.
The Georgia Democrat recounted an experience as a child when he was frisked and humiliated, for looking “suspicious.” He said he was 12 years-old when he was marched through a grocery store for having his hands in his pockets — and that he wouldn’t allow Tuesday’s guilty verdict in the Chauvin trial to become reason for complacency.
“The jury got the verdict right. But that does not solve this issue,” Warnock said. Adding: “It took a whole lot to get here. We had a whole coalition of conscience marching out in American streets last summer.”
Warnock said that in the coming days and weeks he would push Senate colleagues to “codify justice in our legislation,” and renewed a call for the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which won approval in the House last month. A similar version of the legislation passed in the House last summer amid nationwide protests over Floyd’s death, but it died in the Senate.
In remarks from the White House on Tuesday, President Joe Biden lauded the jury’s verdict in the trial while further pressing Congress to send police reform legislation to his desk for his signature.
“George Floyd was murdered almost a year ago. There’s meaningful police reform legislation in his name,” he said. “But it shouldn’t take a whole year to get this done.”