BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The death of George Floyd sparked protest in communities around the country and world, last summer, that includes thousands who protested in Western New York.
For many, learning of Derek Chauvin's guilty verdict on Tuesday, brought relief.
“This will make an impact across this country and that black communities all over America will have a brand new breath of fresh air,” said Reverend James Lewis with the Buffalo NAACP.
He says, he saw a change during this trial, when Chauvin's fellow police officers were testifying for the prosecution. Something rarely seen according to a legal expert.
“Law enforcement will bond together and will be silent and not rat each other out, essentially. And here, you saw a big shift in the tide. And that's reflective of the time, that we're not putting up with this anymore,” said Florina Altshiler, a legal analyst.
Bernie Tolbert is a former FBI agent, he was relieved to see the three guilty verdicts. He says this was a trial against Derek Chauvin and not against police everywhere.
“Let's give them the support they need. Let's give them the training that they need. Just give them everything they need, so they can be the very best with their responsibilities to protect us,” said Tolbert. “We have an obligation to make sure that we give them the tools to be able to protect us.”
With the guilty verdict of former police officer and now convicted murderer Derek Chauvin, local leaders are weighing in on the jury's decision.
"The verdicts delivered today were a powerful statement of accountability. George Floyd's family and his loved ones got well-deserved closure, and all of us who deeply and personally felt his loss gained hope in the possibility of progress.
But while I'm grateful that the jury returned these verdicts, accountability is not the same as justice. It doesn't make an unacceptable situation acceptable, and it doesn't bring Gianna's dad back. But it must fuel our continued march towards equity."
"This historic verdict in the murder trial of ex-police officer Derek Chauvin will not bring George Floyd back, but for the Floyd family and for all Black lives, justice has prevailed. The small group of people that rendered three guilty verdicts today further demonstrates that Black Lives Matter. This murder has had a very deep and personal impact on so many, and while there is still so much work to be done and the need for much more change, this is a verdict for all of those who have dedicated themselves to racial justice through peaceful protest."
“Today’s verdict of accountability in the tragic killing of George Floyd is an important step in healing the deep wounds of racial tension caused by his senseless killing. The agonizing images of his confrontation with those sworn to protect and serve, and the final moments of life, will forever challenge us and must always compel us to create a more compassionate and just society, where all enjoy equal rights and protections under the law. I implore all who wish to demonstrate to do so peacefully and in ways that lead to greater understanding, dialogue and meaningful change. We pray for the family and community of George Floyd that our loving and compassionate God will ease their pain and provide them comfort.”
Today, we have justice for George Floyd. Thinking of his family today as they continue to grieve. Long overdue progress in the fight for equal justice under the law continues.— Brian Higgins (@RepBrianHiggins) April 20, 2021