Pelosi says she thinks Chauvin trial is 'disappointing': 'Maybe my disappointment springs from my expectation that these are our protectors'

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Lauren Frias
·3 min read
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nancy pelosi
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in 2019. Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reflected on the Chauvin trial Wednesday, calling it "so disappointing."

  • She told USA Today that she's likely disappointed because police are supposed to be "protectors."

  • Pelosi said she still respects law enforcement and stamped down calls to "defund the police."

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday she finds the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin "so disappointing."

"And maybe my disappointment springs from my expectation that these are our protectors," the House speaker said referring to law enforcement in an interview with USA Today published Wednesday morning.

Pelosi told USA Today that she has not watched a lot of the trial, which began in late March, but she said she has been following news reports. Pelosi said she was particularly struck by one teenage eyewitness, 18-year-old Darnella Frazier. On the second day of the trial, Frazier said she stayed up some nights "apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life."

Frazier is one of several witnesses, including a 9-year-old girl, who did not appear on the broadcast of the trial because they are minors.

"I feel sad about the spectators, and that that young woman who said she's up all night because she wonders what she could have done differently," Pelosi told USA Today. "I think if any of us was there, we would have gone up and just pulled him off him. But we might have gotten shot, and that's probably why somebody didn't pull him off."

Chauvin is on trial in the killing of George Floyd, whose death among many others sparked national Black Lives Matter protests and calls to defund the police. Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter after Floyd's death on May 25, 2020.

Pelosi said she still holds law enforcement in general in high regard, USA Today reported, but "that isn't a license to kill. And that's what happened," she said.

"That was a public assassination of George Floyd," the House speaker continued.

With regards to calls to "defund the police" - including from some on the left - Pelosi stamped down on the demands. "Forget that. That has no place," she said. "Safety is essential to everyone's lives."

She added that officers "by and large" wear their badges honorably.

"I was raised in a family where, be true to the men in blue - police and fire," Pelosi said. "They save our lives. They risk their lives. They leave home. They don't know if they're coming home. Their families make sacrifices for our safety. So I have a respect for that as I do for our people here."

Pelosi did voice her support for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would bolster police accountability. Pelosi said the bill, which passed the House last summer and stalled in the Senate after facing GOP opposition, would also improve police training protocols to reduce escalated confrontations between civilians and law enforcement.

Protesters have recently taken to the streets in light of the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, who was fatally shot during a traffic stop by an officer who said she mistook her loaded gun for a taser. Prosecutors will charge the officer, who was later identified as Kim Potter, with second-degree manslaughter.

"How could it be that violence of that kind is such an early resort for some of these police officers?" Pelosi said in response to the incident. "There just has to be some better training."

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