Rep. Curtis issues statement on Chauvin trial ahead of verdict

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (ABC4) – As the nation anxiously awaits the verdict of the Derek Chauvin trial in Minnesota, Utah representative John Curtis released a statement to the press. 

Curtis’ press release contained the following remarks:

“As the country waits for a final verdict on the Derek Chauvin trial, I have tremendous confidence in our judicial system. Even with its imperfections, I know of nothing equal to it in the world. However, it’s clear to me that crucial conversations that started with George Floyd’s death have only just begun and regardless of the outcome of the trial, there’s work to do ahead. Personally, the trial has helped me to deepen my commitment to listen better and try harder to be a unifying voice in a too often divisive world. I call on all Americans— and especially Utahns— to also focus on unity and respond to the verdict peacefully as we continue these important discussions,” read the statement sent via email. 

Curtis’ remarks followed statements made earlier in the week on Monday by Governor Spencer J. Cox and NAACP Salt Lake Branch president Jeanetta Williams

Williams said the following on Monday: 

“We are calling for calm as the jurors deliberate after closing arguments in the Derek Chauvin trial charged with murder of George Floyd. The jurors will deliberate and render a possible verdict this week. If there are to be a protest regardless of the verdict, the NAACP calls for non-violence.” 

Gov. Cox echoed Williams’ comments, asking Utahns to remain calm and to not resort to any kind of violence, regardless of the trial outcome. 

“We understand that tensions around the Derek Chauvin trial remain high. We acknowledge and respect the judicial process that has played out and the weighty decisions made by the judge and jury. As the verdict is announced, we urge Utahns to respond within the bounds guaranteed by the First Amendment. We will respect personal safety, life, and property. Any threats against such will not be tolerated,” read the statement from Cox’s office. 

Chauvin, 45, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, all of which require the jury to conclude that his actions were a “substantial causal factor” in George Floyd’s death and that his use of force was unreasonable.

Floyd died in May 2020 after Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd’s neck while he pleaded, “I can’t breathe.”

Salt Lake City officials are preparing for any possible protests in the city.

The verdict in the trial is expected to be announced between 2:30 – 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. 

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