Maxine Waters Decries GOP Censure Vote Over Her Derek Chauvin Comments

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) has responded to attempts by Republicans to censure her over her call for protesters of police brutality to be more "confrontational" if former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was acquitted of the murder of George Floyd.

Waters attended the Brooklyn Center protests in Minneapolis last weekend over the killing of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by a white police officer during a traffic stop. At the protests, Waters urged a more confrontational approach against the U.S. legal system's treatment of Black people should Chauvin be acquitted. He was convicted on three counts.

The congresswoman later explained her comments in an interview with The Grio posted on Monday.

"I am nonviolent [...] 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," she said.

Republicans quickly criticized Waters for her "confrontational" comments, accusing her of inciting violence, and moved on Tuesday to censure her for her remarks. But House Democrats stopped GOP representatives in Congress from trying to censure Waters.

In a party-line vote held shortly before Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd, the House Democrats defeated the resolution censuring Waters, 216-210.

"They stood up with me today," Waters told MSNBC of her Democratic colleagues on Tuesday night. "They [Republicans] put me up for censure because of my visit to Minneapolis, and my colleagues stood with me, and they voted to table the motion."

"The Republicans love use me as a target," Waters added. "They raise money on my back. That's Maxine Waters, that Black woman, who is so uppity, and who is someone we can't control. You've got to make sure that I have enough money to keep her from getting reelected. And I keep getting reelected, and these poor people, many of them retirees, they keep giving them their money. They don't seem to understand they're not going to get me out of office. I'm here until I decide to retire.

"That's what the civil rights movement was all about. It was about activism. It was about confrontation.

"A lot of people see that as being bad, and they try to turn my words into something about violence. It's not about violence. Martin Luther King was about nonviolence. I am nonviolent," she said. "Confrontation was used in the sit-ins, for the civil rights legislation, the marches, the prayers. All of that is confrontation."

On Tuesday, former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, was found guilty of murdering George Floyd, a black man, after standing on his neck for nearly nine minutes on May 25 of last year. Chauvin was found guilty on three counts: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. On video footage, Floyd was repeatedly heard shouting "I can't breathe" as the officer keeps his weight on him.

Floyd's team welcomed the verdict, calling it "painfully earned justice."

"Today's verdict is so critical in that it not only holds Derek Chauvin accountable for his horrific actions, but it reinforces significant police reforms underway in Minneapolis including use-of-force reporting, a requirement to keep body-worn cameras on, and a policy for officers to de-escalate non-threatening encounters by disengaging or walking away," said attorney Antonio M. Romanucci in a statement.

"Now we call on Minnesota state lawmakers to pass The George Floyd Arbitration Reform Bill, and for the United States Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Furthermore, we challenge all Fortune 1000 CEOs in Minnesota to join us by matching the Floyd family's $500,000 donation to businesses at 38th and Chicago where George was killed, to improve the lives of so many in that deserving community. With the family we are establishing the George Floyd Community Benevolence Fund and I encourage you to reach out to us directly to be our partners in that critical effort," he added.

Maxine Waters in D.C.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) speaks during a House Select Subcommittee hearing on April 15, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Waters had called for protesters of police brutality to be more "confrontational" if former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was acquitted of the murder of George Floyd. Susan Walsh/Getty