London Breed reacts to guilty verdict in George Floyd murder, addresses policy changes in SF

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco Mayor London Breed couldn't hold back her emotion when reacting to the three guilty charges for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd.

"It felt like a weight had been lifted and also it's very emotional," Breed paused to gather herself. "(It's) almost unbelievable that I was hearing what I was hearing. (This was) one of the first times I felt there was accountability and there was justice. I'm still trying to process it all."

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Breed spoke to ABC7 about an hour after the verdict was read. A jury found Chauvin guilty on 2nd-degree and 3rd-degree murder along with 2nd-degree manslaughter.

"I'm hopeful that what we have seen happen here today is a wake-up call for us as a country to get it right. There should not be one more person, not one more Black man, who dies at the hands of law enforcement in this country. It's time for real change."

Breed talked about what San Francisco has done to bring change. She said she's proud of the city's new crisis response team. The pilot program launched in November and the team consists of a behavioral health clinician, peer specialist and medical professional, as well as the San Francisco Fire Department. They respond to 911 calls related to mental health and addiction-related issues.

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Since its launch, Mayor Breed says they've had more than 100 calls and "in many cases, this has led to getting people help rather than arresting people or it could have potentially turned out a lot worse. The difference is how we respond to these calls, who responds to those calls and if they have an understanding of those situations so they don't lead to deadly consequences."

Mayor Breed also brought up the program Opportunities For All offering paid internships for all high school students in San Francisco. Mayor Breed says it has everything to do with addressing disparities with investments that will change the outcomes for people - especially people who are African American.

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Is she confident an incident like what we saw with George Floyd won't happen in San Francisco? "I am hopeful that with everything we're trying to do that it doesn't happen here. Our use-of-force policies have changed considerably." Mayor Breed says she's implemented a lot of recommendations from the Obama Administration.

"Change is clearly coming," Breed said. "This is something, and I think it's still a shock to me, because this is something that I never thought would happen in my lifetime. But look at where we are: a police officer held accountable for murder. It's time for us to continue to fight and stay hopeful because a better future is just really within our hands."

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