Dana Nessel, Curtis Lipscomb, Other Michigan LGBTQ+ Leaders React to Chauvin Verdict

Jason A. Michael

LGBTQ+ leaders across Michigan have spoken out to praise the guilty verdict in the murder of George Floyd. Derek Chauvin, who was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department following his fatal exchange with Floyd last summer, was found guilty of all charges — second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter — on Tuesday following a 10-hour deliberation by the jury.

"When the trial began I was having concerns," said LGBT Detroit Executive Director Curtis Lipscomb. "I did often see people not being held accountable too much. I've seen Americans justify why unarmed people should be harmed or killed. So I was cautious. I was nervous. I wasn't sure which way the verdict was going to go. As I saw the verdict read on television by the judge I was overwhelmed. I had a sense of relief."

But Lipscomb is well aware that one guilty verdict is simply just that: one small step in the right direction.

"This is so far not the end of this work," he said. "LGBT Detroit has an anti-violence program, so we recognize that the calls still come.

"Retaliation is an American experience," Lipscomb continued. "Our country's history of action from the opposite side is well-written. I don't know what the pushback is at this minute. I pray the Senate has the strength to pass this bill that the House has approved, the George Floyd bill. It's good for our country. We shouldn't celebrate this man's conviction and this should not be normal. An unarmed person should not be treated in a manner that results in the taking of their life."

Others issuing statements on the verdict included gay Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter who said that while he is grateful for the verdict "it brings no satisfaction. Justice is still unfulfilled and I'm more committed than ever to addressing the inequities in our criminal justice system that allowed this to happen in the first place. We also must commit to action to end the racism that is embedded in all of our systems before we can truly heal."


Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a lesbian, said similar.

"The death of George Floyd has rightfully been recognized as murder by the jurors in the trial of Derek Chauvin," her official statement read. "It is now the obligation of elected officials, community leaders and the law enforcement community to recognize the need for reforms to transition from policing by force to cooperative efforts to create safer communities.

"For too long, fear and brutality have been at the heart of how some individuals in law enforcement view their roles within our communities," Nessel went on. "The result has had devastating consequences for residents, and in particular the Black community and other communities of color."

MDP LGBT&A Caucus Chair Roland Leggett also cited the ongoing issue.

LGBTQ+ activist Nicole Denson summed up the role of activists in the national attention Floyd's murder received and the ongoing need for reform.

"The verdict is in. Activists aided in making it happened. Community leaders made this a reality. As a people, that guilty verdict is symbolic. Not a remedy. We must allow ourselves to take a deep breath … Let's continue to make a change. It's accountability season."