Lewis Hamilton said Derek Chauvin’s conviction shows the push to promote justice and equality for all is not in vain, while stressing that the “fight isn’t over”.
Former Minneapolis police officer Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter by a jury Tuesday for his role in the murder of George Floyd last May outside of a local convenience store.
The death of Floyd, who was Black, and the video that showed Chauvin, who is white, kneeling on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes, became a catalyst for the sports world’s racial and social justice movement last summer.
At the time Hamilton, Formula One’s only Black driver and a seven-time champion, tweeted that he was “overcome with rage” on seeing the video.
Hamilton has been the championship’s leading voice on equality and ending racism. He has knelt ahead of every race since while promoting a series of different messages — at last year’s Tuscan Grand Prix he wore a shirt carrying the words: “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor”.
Reacting to the Chauvin conviction on Tuesday, Hamilton wrote on Twitter: “JUSTICE for George!
“The emotions I feel right now are hard to describe. Derek Chauvin has been found guilty.
“This is the first time that a white officer has been convicted for killing a black man in Minnesota. This is monumental, George’s death is not in vain.
“The result of the Derek Chauvin trial today is the right one. Convicting him of all three charges marks a new dawn in the fight for racial justice.
“This trial was an opportunity for the justice system to hold Derek Chauvin accountable for his actions when he took the life of George Floyd. We can now breathe a collective sigh of relief that the right decision has been met, and that justice has been served.
“Today’s outcome is a sombre victory for George and his family, but it shows that our efforts to promote justice are not in vain. Black voices have been heard and action is happening. When we stand together, we can make a difference.
“But this is just one step on the path towards a more equal society. Since George’s death, so many other Black people have died at the hands of the police and we must ensure the momentum of today continues. The fight isn’t over, and there is more to be done, but we can consider today a glimmer of hope.
“My thoughts and prayers are with George’s family. I hope they will feel a sense of peace from this result. #BlackLivesMatter”
Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in NASCAR, also shared his views on Tuesday evening.
Wallace tweeted: “Justice served on all counts. Good. Still a ton of work to do. Continue to rest peacefully #GeorgeFloyd”