Just a month before the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Chauvin’s trial has concluded, leaving him guilty on all counts.
Chauvin was convicted April 20 of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Last May, Chauvin, a white police officer, murdered Floyd, who was Black, by kneeling on his neck for nearly 10 minutes.
Chauvin will remain in jail until his sentencing — which will be in two months — according to the AP.
Loyola President Jo Ann Rooney sent an email to the Loyola community a few hours after the verdict was released, sharing campus resources and sentiments of solidarity.
“To our Black community, we know this painful milestone is one of many tragic events that further increases the trauma, exhaustion, and hurt that already exist,” Rooney wrote in the email. “Our entire Loyola community stands with you. Please take the time and space you need to process the verdict and the heartbreaking events of the past weeks and months.”
The decision comes in the wake of several other police killings, some of the most recent being 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minn. and 13-year-old Adam Toledo in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago.
Those two, along with the police killings of others across the nation, have rekindled the protest movement sparked by Floyd’s murder last summer. Chicago erupted into protest May 30 and continued through the summer, as Rogers Park saw its own demonstrations in the weeks following Floyd’s death.
Even Loyola’s campus saw protests. The group Our Streets LUC — a student protest group that holds demonstrations on and near Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus — started demonstrating in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in August 2020.
The most recent gathering organized by the group was a vigil for Adam and other recent victims of police killings.
Just about an hour before the verdict was read, Loyola sent an email informing the university community that classrooms and offices on its downtown Water Tower Campus would be closed starting April 21, The Phoenix reported.
“Out of an abundance of caution in anticipation for any potential civil unrest in downtown Chicago in the coming days, only essential building services will be offered at the Water Tower Campus,” the email, signed by Director of Campus Safety Tom Murray and Associate Vice President for Facilities Kana Kenning, said.
Illinois and Chicago politicians also weighed in after the jury’s decision was made public. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker offered his condolences to Floyd’s family but said this isn’t the end of the struggle for equality in the criminal justice system.
“My heart goes out to the family of George Floyd, who deserve to have him alive today,” Pritzker said in a statement. “This verdict marks an important milestone on the journey to justice, but the fullest measure of progress is how we deliver accountability, safety and meaningful change.”
Chicago Mayor and former President of Chicago’s Police Accountability Task Force Lori Lightfoot weighed in with a message on Twitter, sharing her emotions on the “pivotal moment.”
“Today marks a moment where future generations can look back and see that we as a nation came together and rightfully demanded justice and accountability,” Lightfoot wrote. “And justice was served.”
Lightfoot has been criticized for failing to deliver on her promises of police reform following last summer’s protests as well as her use of COVID-19 relief funds on the Chicago Police Department, WBEZ reported.