DENVER (KDVR) — Senate members of Colorado’s Democratic Black Caucus called it “an utterly historic day,” following the guilty verdict in the trial against Derek Chauvin.
“Today, we are relieved that we have received some sense of justice that I don’t think any of us believed would come,” Rep. Leslie Herod said. Herod is the chair of the Colorado Black Democratic Legislative Caucus.
Several times as she spoke Tuesday, she had to pause after being overcome with emotion. “Today we are proud, but it comes with a heavy, heavy heart because we know it shouldn’t have happened,” said Herod.
Chauvin was convicted on all charges in the death of George Floyd, including murder.
“Today this jury has decided that murderers can no longer hide behind badges,” Sen. James Coleman said.
However, members of the caucus stressed that the verdict does not erase the damage that has been done. “Make no mistake. True justice would be George Floyd alive today,” Herod said.
“Those were his last words: I can’t breathe,” Sen. Rhonda Fields said. “I’m glad for the verdict but I’m still having difficulty breathing.” Sen. Fields says she is anxious about the sentencing for Chauvin and that there is still so much more work to do for the entire Black community.
“We made huge efforts in reform last year,” Herod said.
One week and one day after Floyd died, Herod helped craft and introduce the Colorado Law Enforcement Integrity Act. Less than a month later, it was signed into law. Two key aspects of the Colorado Law Enforcement Integrity Act include requiring all officers to wear body cameras and requiring officers to intervene if they witness inappropriate use of force by another officer.
“But no one bill is going to change the outcome for our entire community,” Herod said. She says it is work she and the rest of the caucus will continue.
“And we are going to be doing the work here under the state capitol so that we can get to the point that we can breathe,” Fields said.