“Justice actually prevailed:” Local leaders react to Derek Chauvin’s conviction for the murder of George Floyd

Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 12:14 AM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Leaders in North Central Florida are reacting to the conviction of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. A jury of 12 convicted him on all three charges for the murder of George Floyd. Video of Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck sparked unrest locally and nationwide.

On Tuesday evening from 4:30 to 5:00, many were glued to a TV or social media waiting to hear the news, and when those three guilty verdicts were read, it was a sigh of relief for many.

“Justice actually prevailed for African Americans,” said President of the Alachua County Chapter of the NAACP Evelyn Fox.

RELATED STORY: Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death

She believes the guilty verdicts impact the cases of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, and Daunte Wright, all African Americans killed by law enforcement.

“This justice was for Eric, Breonna, and all of the others,” explained Fox.

The local NAACP President thinks as each guilty verdict was read against Chauvin it served as a step toward justice.

“This was the first small step. We will continue to do whatever it takes to ensure that Black men and women are not lynched. It is just modern-day lynching that is all it is,” said Fox.

She thinks this verdict should act as a wake-up call to all police departments.

“You have to treat people with respect and humanly,” explained Fox.

Another leader from North Central Florida said he believes justice was served. District 2 Congressman Neal Dunn said in a statement, “Today, justice was served. Derek Chauvin broke the law, and now, he is being held accountable for his actions. I believe the jury made the right decision based on the evidence presented. It’s important to remember that the few do not represent the many and that there are far more positive things local law enforcement officers do for our communities than negative. I am incredibly grateful for the law enforcement officers who protect and serve our communities. That said, those who break the law must be held accountable. I am praying for the city of Minneapolis and their police department, as well as George Floyd’s family. Additionally, I pray for our country to heal in the days ahead.”

Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe released a statement after the verdict was announced. In part, he said, “Following the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial related to the murder of George Floyd, we extend our love and solidarity to Mr. Floyd’s family and friends, and share in the relief felt by our Black and brown neighbors who have for too long been abandoned by our criminal justice system.”

RELATED STORY: Biden to America after Floyd verdict: ‘We can’t stop here’

Fox believes George Floyd prompted a change in America.

“George, thank you. Thank you for exposing something in our country that has been happening for years. We just thank you. To your family, George, I know it has been very hard, but because of you, you have made a difference in America,” said Fox.

Chauvin will be sentenced in two months and faces a maximum of 40 years in prison on the most severe charge.

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