Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., on Tuesday said she was “relieved” but not celebrating after Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three charges in connection with the death of George Floyd – hours after she avoided censure over comments she made about the case.
“You know someone said it better than me: I’m not celebrating, I’m relieved,” she told reporters moments after the verdict was announced.
A jury found Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, guilty of three charges – second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter – in connection with the May 2020 death of Floyd.
Waters had sparked condemnation with comments to protesters in Minnesota in which she said she wanted a “guilty verdict” and without one, demonstrators should “stay on the street” and “get more confrontational, we’ve got to make sure they know we mean business.”
Republicans in the House introduced a resolution to censure Waters for her comments, accusing her of engaging in “violent rhetoric.”
Republicans had noted the tension in the city as residents waited for the verdict and accused her of inciting violence.
But Democrats moved quickly to table the resolution in a 216 to 210 party-line vote and avoided taking a vote directly on whether to formally reprimand the longtime California congresswoman.
Her comments had come up in court, where Waters had been admonished for the remarks. On Monday, Chauvin’s attorney asked for a mistrial in the case, citing Waters’ comments, which were made before the jury was sequestered.
The Minnesota judge, Peter Cahill, denied the request but rebuked Waters’ remarks from the bench as “disrespectful to the rule of law.” He said Waters’ comments may have presented an avenue for Chauvin to appeal and have the trial “overturned.”
But Waters has said she was not promoting violence but rather peacefully confronting the justice system.
“I am nonviolent,” she told theGrio in an interview in defense of her comments.
“I talk about confronting the justice system, confronting the policing that’s going on, I’m talking about speaking up. I’m talking about legislation,” Waters continued. “I’m talking about elected officials doing what needs to be done to control their budgets and to pass legislation.”
Fox News’ Marisa Schultz and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.