From Mark Zuckerberg to Roz Brewer, here’s how corporate America responded to Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict

Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Roz Brewer, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook
Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Roz Brewer, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook.

  • Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd on Tuesday.
  • Business leaders including Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook, and Roz Brewer responded to the verdict soon after.
  • Many said the verdict was only the beginning of the fight against institutional racism.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

After Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd on Tuesday afternoon, top US business leaders were quick to respond.

Many said that the ruling was only the beginning of the fight against institutional racism, and urged more action.

The CEOs of Apple and Dell shared quotes by civil-rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., while Zoom CEO Eric Yuan urged his staff to take care of their mental health.

Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer at the time, knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest. Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter.

Floyd’s death has led to increased scrutiny of police brutality and institutional racism around the world, and gave further international attention to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Read more: DEI execs are burning out amid the billion-dollar push to diversify corporate America: ‘It’s hard to be both the advocate and the abused’

Here’s how corporate America responded to Tuesday’s verdict.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Just minutes after the verdict was announced, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted that his thoughts were with Floyd, Floyd’s family, and those who knew him.

He added that the verdict was “part of a bigger struggle against racism and injustice.”

Facebook announced new content moderation rules on Monday in advance of the trial verdict, saying it would “remove content that praises, celebrates or mocks George Floyd’s death.”

Amazon

Jeff Bezos
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Amazon tweeted that the verdict was a “small, yet important victory in the larger fight against racism and social injustice.”

 

Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “Justice for Black people will not flow into society merely from court decisions nor from fountains of political oratory.

“Justice for Black people cannot be achieved without radical changes in the structure of our society.”

 

Dell CEO and founder Michael Dell.

Michael Dell, Dell's founder and CEO
Michael Dell, Dell’s founder and CEO.

Michael Dell, the founder and CEO of Dell, shared a different quote by King.

 

Melinda Gates, chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Melinda Gates Bill Gates at Davos 2015
Melinda and Bill Gates.

Melinda Gates, who chairs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation alongside husband Bill Gates, posted on LinkedIn that the verdict was “just the beginning.”

“As important as it was, this verdict was not justice,” she said. “If George Floyd had justice, he would be alive today.”

 

The Business Roundtable

Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon addresses a business leader panel discussion as part of the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in Washington
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, who chairs The Business Roundtable.

The Business Roundtable, a group representing the CEOs of top US companies including Walmart, P&G, Dow, and PayPal, urged the country to “take steps to address its long history of racial inequity in law enforcement.”

“Though today’s verdict is a step toward justice in this case, unarmed Black men and women continue to die in encounters with the police,” it said.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra

Mary Barra GM CEO
General Motors CEO Mary Barra.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra said that the verdict was a “step in the fight against bias and injustice,” but that “we must remain determined to drive meaningful, deliberate change on a broad scale.”

 

Walgreens Boots Alliance

Rosalind Brewer
Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Roz Brewer.

Walgreens Boots Alliance posted statement on its website, saying that law enforcement officials must protect “all of us, at all times.”

People need to “pledge to do everything within our power to ensure that long-overdue, much-needed reforms are enacted to prevent future injustices,” the company said.

“Even with a verdict now handed down, we must never forget what this past year has taught us, and we must always keep alive the memory of George Floyd, and the countless victims who have suffered similar fates,” it said.

“The Centers for Disease Control has declared racism a public health threat, and for many African Americans and others in communities of color, it has definitely been life threatening,” it added.

Microsoft President Brad Smith

Brad Smith
Microsoft President Brad Smith.

Microsoft President Brad Smith said that “our nation has a long journey ahead before it establishes the justice and equity that Black Americans deserve.”

He added that “no jury can bring him back to life or reverse the pain and trauma experienced by his family and still felt across the country and around the world,” but that the verdict was “a step forward in acknowledging painful truths.”

Salesforce

marc benioff salesforce
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

Salesforce tweeted that though the verdict was a “defining and important moment,” it “does not make up for so much loss and injustice experienced by the Black community.”

“George Floyd should be alive today,” it added.

 

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson

Kevin Johnson Starbucks
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson.

In a letter to US partners, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said that the verdict would “not soothe the intense grief, fatigue and frustration so many of our Black and African American partners are feeling.”

He said that, “while today’s verdict is a step forward in accountability, until we confront the ugly realities and root causes of what led us to this day, our people, our nation, will always fall short of their full potential.”

“We cannot sit on the sidelines as individuals nor as a company,” he added.

Zoom CEO Eric Yuan

Zoom Eric Yuan
Zoom CEO Eric Yuan.

Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said that Tuesday was “meaningful in the pursuit of justice, although Black communities continue to experience targeted acts of violence.”

In an note to staff, Zoom told employees to take care of their mental health and reach out to managers if they needed support.

 

Twitter

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.JPG
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

Twitter urged people to “continue to deepen our solidarity and our commitment to combating racial injustice.”

 

Lyft cofounder John Zimmer

john zimmer lyft
Lyft Co-Founder John Zimmer.

Lyft cofounder John Zimmer said that “this year has opened America’s eyes to the urgency with which we must act and stand up for communities of color.”

LinkedIn

Ryan Roslansky
LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky.

LinkedIn said that “George Floyd should still be with us.”

“Today’s decision is important, but does not bring him back or diminish the acts of violence that the Black community continues to experience,” it added.

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Portland police officers used force more than 6,000 times against protesters last year

portland protests
A demonstrator is pepper sprayed shortly before being arrested during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Portland, Ore.

  • Portland police used force 6,000 times against protesters last year, according to DOJ attorneys.
  • These incidents at times violated department policies and top brass didn’t question it, they said.
  • Portland became a flashpoint for protest activity and police response after George Floyd’s death.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In late May, after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Portland, Oregon, erupted as a hotbed for protest activity, with demonstrators taking to the streets for more than 100 consecutive days.

It also became a flashpoint for clashes between police and protesters. Demonstrators were at many times peaceful but in some instances engaged in violence and vandalism, while federal and local law enforcement repeatedly used aggressive tactics in response to the protests.

But legal documents filed by attorneys for the Department of Justice last month have started to paint a picture of just how frequently officers turned to force.

Portland Police Bureau officers used force “more than 6,000 times” during “crowd-control events” between May 29 and November 15 – an average of 35 times per day – the attorneys said, summarizing the DOJ’s review of PPB officers’ conduct as part of a previous settlement agreement.

“PPB has failed to maintain substantial compliance with the Agreement’s force-policy requirements,” they said.

PPB did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on this story.

“Some of this force deviated from force policy, and supervisors frequently validated individual uses of force with little or no discussion of reasonableness of the force used,” the DOJ attorneys said. “Many [after-action reviews] did not include any witness interviews or officer interviews. Many [reviews] contained similar or identical, i.e., cut-and-paste, language.”

The DOJ’s review also found that commands from top brass often didn’t translate effectively to front-line officers, leading to the agency to conclude that in some cases, those officers’ “movements were chaotic and could have been executed better.”

The review also determined that PPB improperly justified its use of force by claiming all members of a protest were engaged in “active aggression” simply by being part of a crowd where some people were being aggressive. In one example, according to the document, an officer justified firing a “less-lethal impact munition” at an individual because they “engaged in ‘furtive conversation’ and ran away.”

The DOJ did acknowledge, however, that officers in Portland faced “substantial challenges” stemming from the wave of protests, which it said often included a “criminal element,” as well as a rise in violent crime across the city and budget cuts that hindered training.

Portland faced a particularly complex blend of protest activity last year, some of which has continued into 2021.

Many of the demonstrators, particularly in the early months, protested police brutality and systemic racism, and drew from a diverse crowd ranging from BLM activists to suburban moms, veterans, and doctors. But Portland’s Black police chief also called out a small subset of violent protesters, and there is an emerging schism between the city’s progressive groups – with some continuing to engage in vandalism.

Portland has also seen a surge in far-right activity, with Proud Boys and other white supremacist militia groups clashing with protesters, anti-lockdown protesters violently storming the state capitol, and election conspiracy theorists rallying at the capitol in January.

Read the original article on Business Insider