ATLANTA, GA - JULY 30: Former U.S. President Georg

  • Former President George W. Bush called for police reform in the wake of the Derek Chauvin verdict.
  • Chauvin is an ex-Minneapolis police officer who was recently convicted of murdering George Floyd.
  • Bush said Americans must learn there needs to be police reform - but there also needs to be police.
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Former President George W. Bush called for police reform following the guilty verdict of ex-Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, convicted in the death of George Floyd.

Asked on "The Dispatch Podcast" to assign the US a grade based on the Floyd's death and other cases of police brutality, Bush gave high marks.

"The Floyd verdict causes me to give the grade, you know, A. Because I think the trial was fair and justice was served," Bush said. "The question is what grade do you give police people? And the answer to that is overall good, except police departments need to learn to weed out those who don't hold our fellow citizens in the same regard as they hold themselves."

Floyd died on May 25 after Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest. Video of the arrest showed that Floyd repeatedly said he could not breathe.

Chauvin, scheduled to be sentenced in June, faces up to 40 years in prison for the second-degree murder charge. He also faces up to 25 years for the third-degree murder charge and up to 10 years for second-degree manslaughter. Because Chauvin was convicted of all charges, he will be sentenced on the top charge of second-degree murder.

"There's no question there needs to be police reform," Bush said. "But I think one of the lessons that people will learn over time is that there's no question there needs to be police. And so again, I'm optimistic about the country's capacity to take on real issues. And there is a real issue in police accountability."

Bush's remarks run contrary to those recently delivered by other major Republican figures.

Last week, for example, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina denied that systemic racism exists in the United States.

Asked by Fox News' Chris Wallace whether systemic racism exists across American institutions, Graham noted that the country has elected Black leaders.

"Not in my opinion. We just elected a two-term African-American president," Graham said, referring to former President Barack Obama, who was in office from January 2009 to January 2017.

"The vice president is of African American-Indian descent," he continued, referring to Kamala Harris. "So our systems are not racist. America's not a racist country."

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