All eyes were on Minnesota Tuesday afternoon as the verdict was read and former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of all three counts against him.

Tuesday evening, the City of Rochester released a statement on the jury's decision that said, "In order to stand with our entire community, we must acknowledge the pain, both lingering and fresh, being laid bare and caused by racial inequities across our state and country." The press release from the city, which you can read in its entirety below, also said the city has more work to do to create a safe and inclusive community.

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City of Rochester Provides Statement in Response to the Verdict of the Derek Chauvin Trial

The City of Rochester is striving to be inclusive, where all people are treated with dignity and respect.  While the verdict reached today in the Chauvin trial brings about closure to a time filled with varying emotions, the pain, mistrust, and historical trauma by members of our community will continue to stay open.

The City of Rochester has much more work to do to ensure that our community is safe, open, welcoming, and inclusive for everyone. We are striving to live out our professed values as a compassionate community and acknowledge the lived experiences and pain that has and is being shared right now, especially by members of our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) residents.  Recent egregious acts, even not within our city, still activate memories of experienced members of our community have had themselves, in other places and within our city.

We stay firmly committed as an organization to listen, to learn, and to build trust across our city, with a concurrent pledge to action.  To that end, the City has been and continues to undertake efforts to acknowledge and address inequity in Rochester, including the recent hiring of the first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director.

Although efforts have been underway in the City, we realize we have only just started the work that needs to be done. Our promise to the community includes committing to:

  • Address racial inequality in local government through a commitment at all levels of the organization.
  • Update all City policies, practices, and procedures using an equity lens.
  • Create a better system for effective, responsive, and culturally sensitive engagement.
  • The implementation of the Blueprint for Re-envisioning Rochester Police Department, which is a reflection upon an acknowledgment of the need for a cultural change within the law enforcement profession.
  • Developing and implementing the first-ever City of Rochester Equity Plan.

In order to stand with our entire community, we must acknowledge the pain, both lingering and fresh, being laid bare and caused by racial inequities across our state and country.  As an organization and as part of the community, the City of Rochester is committed to standing with our BIPOC community and charting a path forward together.

We affirm the statement made by the City in 2020; We see you. We hear you. We support you.

A digital version of this press release is available on the City's website.

Timeline: George Floyd's Death, Protests, Riots, Arrests, Chauvin Trial

It was late afternoon on Memorial Day, 2020 and many Minnesotans had observed the normally active weekend hunkered down because of the growing pandemic.

George Floyd drove to a grocery store in Minneapolis and bought some cigarettes. He was accused by employees of making the purchase with a counterfeit $20 bill and police were called. Floyd was still there in his vehicle when two officers arrived. About 10 minutes later, Chauvin and another officer showed up and the situation began to escalate. Chauvin began kneeling on Floyd's neck as he was facedown on the street. Despite repeated pleas from Floyd and a growing crowd of bystanders to remove his knee, Chauvin continued as if frozen in position with no facial expression. 

After more than 8 minutes, Chauvin finally stood up and Floyd had become unresponsive. An ambulance was called and a short while later, it was reported Floyd was dead.

A video of the incident slowly spread on social media around the state, the country and the world. Viewers literally watched a man slowly die, repeating "I can't breathe." 

The now historic response began the following day.