‘This is one step on a long journey we are just beginning’: Gov. Inslee calls for end to systemic racism following Chauvin verdict

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Rachel La Corte

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee released a statement calling for an end to systemic racism following the conviction of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin in George Floyd’s death.

Chauvin was found guilty on all three charges against him– second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

“This was more than the death of one person. It was a trauma for George Floyd’s family, his children, the bystanders and indeed the entire nation. Weary families in so many communities, traumatized from images of brutality against Black and Brown and feeling no power to stop it, can take heart today that justice was served in this instance. Yet, there is still much work to do. This is one step on a long journey we are just beginning,” Inslee said. “Today is a day for all to recommit themselves to a more perfect union, in their communities and in our nation. Let this be the beginning of progress rather than the end of one trial. Today’s sense of relief for some is fleeting. They know more must be done to prevent this from happening again and again. Too many live with this uncertainty. We must end systemic racism.”

Inslee acknowledged police reform efforts that are currently underway in Washington, including independent investigations into police use of force, clarifying the requirements for tactics, increasing oversight and accountablity of law enforcement officer conduct, and establishling certain standards for permissble use of force.

“But ending systemic racism goes beyond our justice system,” Inslee said. “Our communities will not be at peace until everyone feels secure to do the most basic things. I’m talking about the right to vote. Or the right to get in the car and drive anywhere safely without fear of being killed. To walk down any street in America or go shopping at the department store without being selectively followed. To work regardless of what your hair or skin color looks like. To rent or buy a house in the neighborhood of your choice, or to get an insurance policy without being asked for a credit score. These ordinary activities must be available to all.”

Inslee called for communities to be proactive to “turn the tide of justice.”

“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said ‘the moral arc of the universe’ bends toward justice, and it takes all of us to usher it into existence.”

RELATED: Derek Chauvin found guilty of murder and manslaughter in death of George Floyd