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'Justice is served:' Local reaction to Derek Chauvin murder coviction
Minn. cop killed Fayetteville native George Floyd
Published Tuesday, April 20, 2021 6:00 pm
by Herbert L. White

A makeshift memorial to George Floyd was erected outside Cup Foods in Minneapolis, Minnesota last June shortly after the Fayetteville native was killed by police officer Derek Chauvin.

North Carolinians’ reaction to former Minneapolis, Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin’s conviction in the murder of George Floyd was swift.

Floyd, a Fayetteville native, was killed May 25, 2020 by Chauvin, who kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes. The death, captured on video and shown around the world, sparked a wave of protests across the globe against police brutality against people of color, especially Black Americans.

“I hope this verdict brings some measure of closure to the family of George Floyd,” Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said. “George Floyd’s death and this trial should give us pause. Another Black man lost his life. Finally, justice was served. I hope everyone respects the result and understands this will not be the last time we have to address a situation like this. Change is needed and we should all be a part of the change.”

North Carolina NAACP President Rev. T. Anthony Spearman credited the prosecution and video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck with securing conviction.
The attorney general of Minnesota (Keith Ellison) put his soul and treasury behind the prosecution team he assembled,” Spearman said. “Cable TV gave the trial maximum coverage, so Chauvin’s lawyer’s tricks were clear to all.  

“Most important, Darnella Frazier, a 17-year-old Minneapolis high school student, made a film that will go down in history. Like the Abraham Zapruder film of the assassination of President John Kennedy, the traditional police coverup was impossible. No one, not even many of Chauvin’s police colleagues, could argue against Ms. Frazier’s film.

“Let’s take a moment and give thanks for living during this transformational time.  Let’s thank Brother George Floyd and his family, full of grace, who helped lead us spiritually and emotionally through this long journey of faith.

“And let’s thank Ms. Frazier, with her cell-phone camera, her courage and her sense of history, who recorded the face of racist depravity that we still must expose, as the Next Big Trial — the trial of the American System of Criminal ‘Justice’ begins again tomorrow.”

Chantal Stevens, executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina, said the “verdict convicting Derek Chauvin of murder is a rare act of police accountability, but it cannot bring George Floyd back. …

“We must recognize that the murder of a Black man by the hands of a police officer was not an isolated incident. Until we address systemic problems that lead to police abuse of power, disparate treatment, and excessive force against Black and Brown communities, what happened in Minneapolis could just as easily happen in Mooresville or Mebane.

“Today’s verdict cannot lull our community into complacency. Instead, we must renew our conviction to create a world where it is unacceptable for police to use violence and harassment to target Black people, something that has happened since slave patrols were created to monitor, control, and oppress Black communities.
…“Today’s verdict offers a glimmer of hope for the future that we can build - one where collective calls for justice bear fruits for a better tomorrow.”

Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden weighed in.

“At the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office, we believe in the sanctity of life and treating everyone with dignity and respect,” he said. “We have a moral responsibility to protect people in our custody from harm. As Sheriff, I believe policing is a noble profession – yet I also know that not all individuals feel equally protected.”

Johnson C. Smith University President Clarence Armbrister declared “justice has been served.”

“This verdict is a step in the right direction to address systemic racism that is too often evident in America’s policing,” he said. “I as well as the students of Johnson C. Smith University – many of whom protested for justice following Mr. Floyd’s death – grieve with the family and friends of George Floyd. This verdict is not a cause for celebration, nor does it change past events. However, it does serve as a new precedent for justice in our nation.”


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