(Updated April 21 at 9:24 pm)
Hudson Valley-based politicians and students alike are reacting to a verdict that could be paradigm shifting.
Yesterday, the highly anticipated verdict in the George Floyd murder case resulted in three unanimous convictions from the jury for all charges. While the aftermath of the case represents a possible shift in the way police brutality cases have often turned out, Newburgh City Councilman Omari Shakur is not quick to describe this as a permanent shift from the status quo.
“This is just one verdict,” he said via Facebook. “It’s a step in the right direction, but It’s not justice. Until we fix our local police departments, then we will all be looking at the next video on the new TV sitcom ‘Let’s Kill a Black Man.'”
Orange County Legislator Kevindaryan Lujan, who represents the Newburgh area, echoed Shakur’s sentiments.
“While yesterday’s verdict saw the close of one chapter and provided some accountability and peace for the Floyd family, communities of color continue to live without true justice,” he said via Instagram. “I hope that this outcome will embolden our national legal system to continue to hold police officers accountable when they are at fault, and I hope that we will take greater steps to end system racism.”
Other local politicians weighed in on their social media accounts.
“A murderer was brought to justice,” Senator James Skoufis (NY-39) said on Facebook. “George Floyd can’t be brought back, but may his family and community find some peace in today’s conviction.”
“Justice was served today, but so much work remains to be done,” said Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson on Facebook. “May the legacy of George Floyd be the progress we make in the years ahead.”
“It is our hope that today marks the beginning of meaningful healing for our nation as we redouble our efforts to bring lasting peace—rooted in justice and equality for all—to all of our communities,” said Senator Sue Serino (NY-41) on Facebook.
U.S. Congressmen from the Hudson Valley area posted statements on the verdict to their Twitter pages:
All three voted recently for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which promises comprehensive police reform that includes eliminating qualified immunity, a controversial principle that makes it more difficult to convict cops for any criminal offenses.
College students also shared their thoughts. Bard College sophomore Cerina Shippey, who is a member of the college’s Black Student Organization, said in an email that she has mixed feelings on the verdict overall.
“Personally, I have been struggling with feelings of anger and apathy,” she said. “Quite frankly, I am tired, I am tired of being exposed to violence day in and day out. I’m tired of seeing black bodies being traumatized. I believe that this verdict is a crumb’s worth of the real justice that the black community truly needs.”