The jury’s guilty verdict of former police officer Derek Chauvin at the trial over George Floyd’s death was “a step towards dealing with institutional racism in America,” Ned Price, a spokesperson for the State Department, declared Wednesday.
Price applauded the former Minneapolis police officer Chauvin’s guilty verdict, handed down Tuesday, at the top of the press briefing, saying:
The outcome does not represent full justice, but it does represent accountability, which is a step towards dealing with institutional racism in America. The verdict also does not diminish the pain felt by black and brown communities, which is a deep trauma to which people of color and marginalized communities around the world can relate.
On Tuesday, the jury found Chauvin, 45, guilty on all the counts he faced over the death of George Floyd — unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
It is not typical for the State Department, responsible for U.S. foreign policy and international relations, to take a position on a domestic case. Associated Press (AP) reporter Matt Lee called out Price on that front, noting:
I appreciate the sentiment and I understand where it’s coming from but the State Department’s portfolio is overseas, it’s not here. And I get how this has been a black eye … with the Chinese and the Russians and they talk about well, when you complain about our human rights record look at your own here. … So are your comments meant to suggest that if and when other countries take issue with your criticism of them that you will go back and say well look at this case and this shows our transparency
“I think rather than talking about any particular case we are talking about our values,” Price responded, noting that the case received attention across the globe.
“What we saw and what we have seen in recent weeks has been a national reckoning, he added. “And of course, what happens here has implications around the world.”
The case did trigger worldwide protests, violence, looting, and an assessment of racism and policing in the United States, including calls to “defund the police” backed by Democrats. Some world leaders, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who asserted “systemic racism” still exists in the U.S. and his country, welcomed the jury’s decision.
In the US today, we saw accountability for the murder of George Floyd. But make no mistake, systemic racism and anti-Black racism still exist. And they exist in Canada, too. Our work must and will continue.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) April 21, 2021
When commenting on Tuesday’s verdict, Price echoed U.S. critics such as communist China, which has repeatedly accused America of human rights violations, citing the mistreatment of blacks.
As the secretary [of State] said, America finds strength in the fact that we’re able to acknowledge our imperfections transparently and to grapple with them openly. It’s what sets us apart from our competitors and our adversaries and what allows us to advance the ideal of a more perfect union.
Just as we defend human rights and hold human rights abusers accountable around the world, we will continue to strive to address racial injustice, and inequities in our country, affirming throughout that black lives truly do matter.
The spokesperson appeared to be referring to what U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during the release of the department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights late last month.
At the time, Blinken suggested that China is right that the U.S. must confront human rights abuses within its borders, including “systemic racism.”
What separates America’s democracy from autocracies like China’s is the United States’ ability and willingness to deal with its human rights challenges “out in the open,” Blinken noted.
His comments came after China lectured America against mistreating blacks during the first in-person meeting between Biden administration officials, including the secretary of state, and their Chinese counterparts earlier last month in Alaska.