Local leaders react to Derek Chauvin guilty verdict: 'This was justice'

Officials in the Philadelphia region are reacting to the news that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of George Floyd's murder.

Video Transcript

- Also, tonight, local leaders made their voices known following today's guilty verdict.

- Nearly all are in tune with the same mindset that this is only the beginning for meaningful change here in our country. Action News reporter Dann Cuellar joins us live outside Philadelphia police headquarters tonight with that story. Dan?

DANN CUELLAR: Kristy, Rick, just about every official we reached out to tonight had a reaction to these verdicts. The collective message we got is this is a defining moment for America.

- Find the defendant guilty.

- As the jury's verdict we're about to be heard, many people were holding their breath, not knowing exactly what to expect, and what it could all mean for the country.

GABE RODRIGUEZ: I was able to exhale when I heard the verdict. I was holding my breath and hoping for the best, and the best is exactly what came out. That was a guilty verdict.

- As each of the three verdicts was announced, Philadelphia Congressman Dwight Evans repeated one word.

DWIGHT EVANS: Justice, justice, justice.

- Philadelphia Sheriff Rochelle Bilal had been sitting on pins and needles when she heard the guilty verdicts.

ROCHELLE BILAL: It's a relief for conscious cops across this country. If you are a conscious cop, this is one of the ones that you say, thank God.

- As members of the National Guard mobilized with rifles and shields at Philadelphia's Emergency Operations Center to stand by in case they're needed, many city officials were echoing a sigh of relief. Mayor Jim Kenney said, in part, in his statement, "This verdict marks the moment we as a nation can begin the process of healing and unifying. It's time to implement real and sustainable change to end racism, intolerance, and police brutality against black and brown Americans."

Police commissioner Danielle Outlaw said, in part, in the statement, "Although a verdict was reached today, I ask for calm. I ask for peace. Let's use this time to reflect on our justice system, what reforms have taken place, and the work still left to do." For his part, Congressman Dwight Evans says, we cannot underestimate the significance of this moment in American history.

- So then it is something we should not take insignificant, and we should understand that this is long overdue.

- This was justice. There's no way in the world that anybody can think anything other than that.

- And late tonight, we got this statement from Philadelphia FOP Lodge 5 President John McNesby. The criminal justice system worked in this case, and the jury's verdict was fair and just. We call for calm and hope for our officers across the city and nation will be safe tonight. Live here at police headquarters, I'm Dann Cuellar, Action News at 10:00 on PHL 17.