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Scenes of joy and relief erupted across the country after a jury found Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder in the death of George Floyd.
Jury Chauvin was found guilty On all three counts relating to Floyd’s death during his arrest on Last Memorial Day: second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
However, at the same time, in many cities, the festive mood was tempered by the feeling that the ruling represented only a small degree of accountability in a larger battle against racial injustice and police violence.
Here’s a glimpse of how people nationwide are addressing Tuesday’s ruling.
In George Floyd Square – a memorial site dedicated to Floyd and the intersection where Chauvin pinned the 46-year-old black man for about 9 and a half minutes – the crowds burst into cheers as soon as the first conviction was issued.
Announcing the third count, PJ Wilder, 39, had fallen to his knees, tears streaming down his face.
“It’s a new day in America,” he said. “Everyone saw that. But you’re still sitting, thinking about the Rodney King days – everyone saw that too – those cops got down.”
“I was really worried, I was worried about my city. Thank God, my city will not burn tonight,” he said. Finally, a small piece of justice.
Floyd grew up in Houston, where many of his family still live.
Near a mural dedicated to Floyd in the city’s third district – where he lived with his mother and siblings on a housing project – friends and community members celebrated peacefully, saying they were grateful for the ruling but still mourned the death of Floyd.
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Near a mural dedicated to Floyd in Third Ward, Larry Masters, 60, said he doubts a jury will convict.
“It’s a blessing,” he told Houston Public Media. “Justice was done today. Because this is a long time coming. They have been doing this for years and years and years. From generation to generation. We were corrupted, and we were mistreated. I mean, they just get away with crime.”
Growing up, 46-year-old Kim Hewitt said she knew Floyd. The judgment alone wasn’t enough to make her feel comfortable – she wants the criminal justice system to treat Chauvin the same way she feels it has treated the black community.
“I’m not happy until I get that [Chauvin’s prison time]”They put him in the population and treated him like a criminal – they see us in society as criminals,” she told the station.
After what she described as the emotional year, Hewitt said she hopes Houston can come together to focus on the issue of police violence.
Amid national calls for police reform, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Daniel Ottlaw is focused on the work that lies ahead.
After Floyd’s death, her division adopted a number of Measures to improve police accountabilityY To prevent possible situations of excessive use of force.
“As a law enforcement official, I find the behavior that took the life of George Floyd repugnant,” she said in a statement. “Although a verdict has been reached today, I am asking for calm. I ask for peace. Let us use this time to reflect on our judicial system, the reforms that have been made, and the work that remains to be done.”
Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Gary McCollum, Virginia Beach’s local minister, said he feared Chauvin’s actions could be portrayed as a “one bad apple” in the criminal justice system rather than a systemic problem.
“Chauvin was not a single bad apple,” he said. “You have a system that preys on marginalized communities and African Americans and the only reason to condemn it [is] It was alive and watched by people all over the world. “
McCollum said it was time to “reimagine police work,” for example, by using technology similar to speed cameras to replace traffic stops.
James Allen, 68, another black activist and chair of the Virginia Beach Inter-communal Conference of Ministers, said he had no doubt that Chauvin would be indicted.
“You know why? Because we saw a guy being killed live and in vivid color on national television. That’s the difference. Suddenly now, all of my white friends who used to say, ‘James, you are megalomaniac,’ They can’t say that anymore.”
Rodney Johnson, 65, a Navy veteran, was sticking with TV coverage over the course of the three-week trial before heading to the Black Lives Matter Plaza after the verdict. He is not confident that a single conviction will change much when it comes to the problem of police brutality. He said the police should watch themselves.
“People think that this racial injustice will disappear – it is not. Until everyone, everyone, learns to love each other.”
Nearby, Sheila Kyaresima, who joined the crowds with her two-year-old son, described the result as “a ray of hope.”
“But it also shows that there is a lot of work to be done,” she said. “What happens when there is no camera, right?”
NPR’s Sarah McCamon, David Shabear and Tom Bowman contributed to this report.