Gainesville Police Department (GPD) Chief Tony Jones released a lengthy statement on the conviction of Derek Chauvin, a day after a Minneapolis jury convicted the former police officer for the killing of George Floyd.
“Gainesville and the rest of the world witnessed a critical moment in our nation’s criminal justice system,” Jones said. “Yesterday’s verdict showed that no person is above the law and that all of us will be held accountable for the crimes we commit.”
The jury convicted Chauvin of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Jones credited the “brave citizens” who testified in the trial as pivotal for the jury to reach its decision.
“I commend the men and women of law enforcement and other public safety officials who testified that the protocol used by [Derek] Chauvin was not an acceptable practice of any law enforcement agency,” Jones said. “What Mr. Chauvin did clearly contribute to the death of George Floyd.”
Jones said he hopes the decision represents only the beginning of bringing to justice those responsible for Floyd’s death, noting the trials of additional defendants coming in the months ahead.
Jones pledged that GPD will continue to work with the community to ensure the department’s encounters with citizens are constitutional, compassionate and consistent.
“The [Derek] Chauvin case vividly demonstrates the horrific action of a bad officer,” said Jones, who started at GPD in 1975 and has served as chief since 2009. “I am proud to be part of a profession that has countless good officers who work hard every day to serve their communities, sometimes sacrificing their lives to protect our neighbors.”
Jones said he hopes the verdict will “restore the nation’s trust in our criminal justice system” and called on the community to come together.
“I’m asking everyone in Gainesville today to work together so that we can continue to make this city a stronger community by focusing on all of the problems that contribute to crime,” he said. “I pledge to each of you GPD’s commitment to make this a reality.”
After the verdict Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe also released a statement vowing to continue working to “create a just, fair and equitable city for each of our neighbors.”