Chicago officials said Tuesday evening they were relieved former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter for kneeling on the neck of George Floyd for more than nine minutes.
In an interview with “Chicago Tonight,” four aldermen agreed that the three guilty verdicts will likely avert large protests and civil unrest — while acknowledging they have much more work to do to reform the Chicago Police Department, particularly in the wake of the police shooting death of 13-year-old Adam Toledo.
“I am relieved not just for the city of Chicago, but also for the Floyd family,” said Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th Ward).
But Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th Ward) said one guilty verdict could not reverse decades of mistreatment and systemic inequality.
“We will continue to demand justice for all the cases, not only here in Chicago but across the country,” Sigcho-Lopez said.
Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez (33rd Ward) said there is “a lot of work to do to transform our idea of public safety.”
Sigcho-Lopez called on Mayor Lori Lightfoot to stop blocking a vote on a measure that would create an elected board to oversee the Chicago Police Department and address the “structural issues” standing in the way of police accountability.
“We need it now,” Sigcho-Lopez said.
Taliaferro, the chair of the Public Safety Committee and a former Chicago police sergeant called the video of Adam’s death “horrific” and “damaging emotionally.”
The body-worn camera footage shows the 13-year-old turn toward a Chicago police officer and put his hands in the air an instant before the officer shoots him.
Rodriguez Sanchez said the video of Adam’s death showed an “execution” and accused Lightfoot and police officials of “disparaging” his character in the two weeks between his death and the release of the video.
“It's been disgusting,” Rodriguez Sanchez said.
However, Ald. Brian Hopkins said the officer who shot and killed Adam “had no choice” because he had every reason to believe he had a gun.
“He has to live with the consequences of that,” Hopkins said of the police officer.
The Chicago City Council will meet in person for the first time since February 2020 on Wednesday, with aldermen not yet ready to return allowed to participate in remotely.