The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has captured the attention of the nation and world.

Leaders across the political spectrum have expressed deep sorrow and outrage over the killing of the 46-year-old, who died after he was taken into custody Monday. 

On Friday, after a night of protests, unrest and vandalism, prosecutors announced that Derek Chauvin, the officer seen kneeling on Floyd's neck until he lost consciousness, had been arrested on  murder and manslaughter charges.

Here’s a sampling of what local and national political leaders are saying about Friday’s developments.

Floyd's family, through an attorney, called the arrest a "welcome but overdue step on the road to justice."

Gov. Tim Walz echoed that sentiment:

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said the decision to charge Chauvin "is an essential first step on a longer road toward justice and healing our city.”

“What’s happened in Minneapolis is bigger than any one city and any single event. For our Black community who have, for centuries, been forced to endure injustice in a world simply unwilling to correct or acknowledge it: I know that whatever hope you feel today is tempered with skepticism and a righteous outrage." 

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, said "justice has begun and I think that’s really encouraging." But he also criticized Walz:

"Above all else, this is a failure in leadership and that leadership rests on Gov. Walz’s shoulders. The governor cannot blame the mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul.”

Many weighing in said the arrest is only the first stepU.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith joined colleagues in calling for a federal investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department:

"Those responsible must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law in order to serve justice for George Floyd and his loved ones. And we must work toward justice for the community, which means ensuring that the MPD accounts for and eliminates any unconstitutional police practices. It is imperative that the Department of Justice do its part toward that end." 

A group of state legislators representing Minneapolis wrote Walz asking that Attorney General Keith Ellison take over the case:

"Given the present circumstances, we believe that this case should be handled in a way that maximizes public trust and gives confidence to the public that justice will be done. Under the circumstances, transferring the case to the Attorney General's office would be one of the most decisive actions that you could take to calm public anger and guarantee a fair process.... is imperative to signal to our constituents, as strongly and quickly as possible, that the authorities are treating this case with the special attention it deserves, and to demonstrate that all Minnesotans are equal in the eyes of the law."

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden said in a video address that we "must commit as a nation to pursue justice with every ounce of our being."

"It's time for us to take a hard look at the uncomfortable truths. It's time for us to face that deep open wound we have in this nation. We need justice for George Floyd. We need real police reform, that holds cops to a higher standard that so many of them actually meet, that holds bad cops accountable and repairs relationships between law enforcement and the communities they're sworn to protect. We need to stand up as a nation, with the black community, with all minority communities and come together as one America. That's the challenge we face. It's going to require those of us who sit in some position of influence to finally deal with the abuse of power. The pain is too immense for one community to bear alone. I believe it's the duty of every American to grapple with it, and to grapple with it now, with our complacency, our silence, we are complicit in perpetuating these cycles of violence. Nothing about this will be easy or comfortable. But if we simply allow this wound to scab over once more, without treating the underlying injury, we'll never truly heal."

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar called for nationwide reforms and said "we can't ask our community to be peaceful if we continue to not deliver justice for them."  


Hennepin County Chief Public Defender Mary Moriarity noted in a tweet that many clients, who are frequently black and brown, get charged and sit in jail while they do further investigation:

“Civilians should be given the same timelines as police officers, if that is what is takes to conduct a thorough and complete investigation. No one should be charged and sit in jail while they complete the investigation.”

Jason Lewis, a Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, said the wheels of justice are turning:


Former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice said change can't come fast enough:

Senate DFL Leader Susan Kent said she was relieved to hear the man that unjustly killed Mr. George Floyd has finally been arrested."

"While this is good news and the right thing to do, our work is far from over in ensuring no one falls victim to the unjustifiable violence and use of excessive force he and so many others have been subject to. We must hold all of the officers involved accountable for their actions, or lack thereof, in George Floyd’s murder. We must work together to make critical, effective, and long-term structural changes so that every Minnesotan feels safe in their community and across the state—regardless of what they look like.”

State Sen. Jeff Hayden, DFL-Minneapolis, reiterated calls for police reforms in an interview with CNN: 

"We are now prepared not to vote for anything moving forward – our bonding request, our infrastructure – until the [law enforcement reform] change happens … We are going to grind this state or this Legislature to a halt if we don’t get change.”

Jennifer Carnahan, chairwoman of the Minnesota Republican Party, who had expressed frustrations with DFL leaders' handling of the protests, tweeted that the arrest signals that the "process of justice for #georgefloyd has begun."