Washington State Black Members Caucus Statement on Chauvin Verdict

OLYMPIA – Today, the Black Members Caucus released the following statement after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd. 

While communities in Washington state and around the country have called for action in the streets, pushed for change at all levels of government and simply tried to persist despite continued police violence, the Floyd family, and too many other Black and Brown families, have shouldered the weight of this pain. It’s our hope that today’s verdict brings the Floyd family some peace. 

This verdict is a step forward, but it should only add to the growing momentum for change. Our work is not done until everyone feels safe and protected, no matter their skin color. 

As we have passed bills in the Legislature to prioritize de-escalation by officers, ban and limit dangerous police tactics, ensure independent investigations of deadly force, and build more transparency and accountability between law enforcement and the communities they serve, we have simultaneously watched police violence replayed in the news and in our own neighborhoods. It’s clear that the work must continue. 

It is not lost on us that Manuel Ellis’ family is still waiting for justice. It is not lost on us that it took a video from Minnesota to spark change in Olympia. It is not lost on us that a guilty verdict in Minnesota will not bring George Floyd back, just like legislation in Olympia will not bring back Manuel Ellis or Charleena Lyles or Tommy Le or Stonechild Chiefstick or Giovonn Joseph-McDade or Leonard Thomas or Said Joquin or Jesse Sarey or Carlos Hunter or Jenoah Donald or Che Taylor or Renee Davis. 

We have to keep the momentum in our policy work and advocacy to make sure that police violence comes to an end. We have to build systems that honor and preserve every human life. This year the Legislature set down a foundation that we must continue to build on, but the work to bring restorative justice to our communities has just begun in Washington state.