Protesters rally and march in Bryant Park, N.Y., on the first day of the trial of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, accused of killing African-American George Floyd on May 25, 2020.
Protesters rally and march in Bryant Park, N.Y., on the first day of the trial of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, accused of killing African-American George Floyd on May 25, 2020. (Credit: Lev Radin/Shutterstock via JNS.org).

The Minneapolis police officer was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Jewish groups reacted to the verdict on April 20 of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, touched off massive worldwide protests, violence and an examination of U.S. race relations and police conduct in the last year. The Jewish community — active in civil rights and with a long history of black-Jewish ties — reacted with outrage over Floyd’s death, one of a number of high-profile cases nationwide.

Some groups, however, also condemned the riots that erupted as part of riots last spring and summer, including damage that occurred to synagogues and Jewish businesses.

Chauvin, 45, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

In a statement, the Anti-Defamation League said that the “decision to hold Derek Chauvin accountable for the murder of George Floyd is a critically necessary first in securing #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd.”

“It is long past time for our country to tackle systemic racism, reimagine what public safety looks like, and create transformational change to ensure justice and fair treatment for all people.”

The American Jewish Committee said “nothing can bring back the life of George Floyd. But, at the very least, justice has been served today.”

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs noted that the verdict is “an initial step toward accountability, justice and healing.”

“We echo the sentiment expressed by JCPA’s member agency, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minneapolis said in a statement: ‘While no guilty verdict can bring George Floyd back or make his family and friends fully whole for their loss or unwind the trauma inflicted on the broader African American community, we hope that today’s decision brings some measure of justice, healing and peace to his loved ones and for all Minnesotans.’”

The Democratic Majority for Israel said the verdict “represents an important step toward addressing the grave injustices he and so many other people of color have suffered. DMFI will continue to advocate for policies that will dismantle the systemic racism that plagues our country.”

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, tweeted: “Do not stand idly by while your neighbor bleeds (Leviticus 19:16). Over a billion people saw George Floyd murdered. Even more heard today’s just verdict. For too long too many have stood idly by. No more.”

The Jewish Federations of North America tweeted that “while no guilty verdict can bring George Floyd back, we hope that today’s decision brings some measure of justice, healing & peace. We know that there is much work to do. Our resolve to address real & legitimate concerns about racial discrimination has never been stronger.”

Jewish on Campus tweeted: “Today’s conviction of Derek Chauvin is a step toward accountability. There is still work to be done.

“We at Jewish on Campus send our support to the Black community in the fight against anti-Black racism. We will continue to work alongside you for justice. #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd”

Ann Toback, CEO of the Workers Circle in New York City, said in a statement: “We recommit ourselves to reimagining public safety that respects human dignity and ensures people of color and communities of color the rights, freedom and safety that are so long overdue. And we continue to partner with organizations led by our sisters and brothers of color as we work to end centuries of systemic racism in our country.” END BOX

Look forward to the May 6 Detroit Jewish News for an essay from Rabbi Daniel Syme and Rev. Kenneth Flowers on what this verdict means for Detroit’s Black and Jewish communities

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