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Local communities react to Chauvin Verdict

The long-awaited verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial was released yesterday evening, finding the former Minneapolis police officer guilty on all counts for the killing of George Floyd. Activists took to the streets across the nation in acknowledgment. Those in Grand Rapids say while the decision was just, there’s more work to be done.  

“Say his name, George Floyd”

Activists with Justice For Black Lives and other social justice groups in West Michigan have been chanting these words for nearly a year.

“Say his name, George Floyd.”

Tuesday evening brought some closure in their justice – with former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin being found guilty on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd. JFBL took to downtown Grand Rapids just as the verdict came down around 5pm, with notes of both celebration and criticism.

“It’s a good thing we got justice for George Floyd, but we also got to keep in mind all the other people that still haven’t had justice yet. We still have to talk about Breonna Taylor, we still have to talk about Tamir Rice, we still have to press for justice for Daunte Wright and the lives that are continuously taken from us by police, the people who are supposed to protect and serve us.”

Vice President Danny Santiago saying the road to this decision took too long.

“Why does it take so long to find him guilty. Why do we have to constantly go through no after no after no after no acknowledgement.”

He and President Aly Bates acknowledged it was “a happy moment” for Floyd’s family, but insist that the pressure stay applied to abolish qualified immunity.

“Okay he’s found guilty now what? Now what? How much time is he going to do? How are we going to stop it in the future?”

As the group took off on a march, starting and ending at Breonna Taylor Way, they made it clear their fight continues on.

“The system finally acknowledged that, but there’s a lot of families who haven’t had that acknowledgment yet, so it’s up to us to keep that going.”