Derek Chauvin Murder Trial: Community has mixed reactions to guilty verdict

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Aisha Flowers, 32, participating in a Black Lives Matter protest weeks after the killing of George Floyd in May 2020. On April 20, almost one year after Floyd’s murder, his killer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three charges which included second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second degree manslaughter. Chauvin was denied bail and will remain in police custody until his sentencing hearing in eight weeks. (Courtesy photo)

By Jordan D. Brown
Special to the AFRO

Tuesday afternoon, Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three charges in the killing of George Floyd. While people across the nation celebrated what may seem like a victory, some struggled to find joy in the verdict.

As millions of people awaited the jury’s verdict for Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd, there is one word to sum up the general feeling: nervous. The word itself was trending on Twitter leading up to the moment when Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

At precisely 5:06 p.m., deep sighs of relief filled the nation as Chauvin was charged on all three counts. As people rejoiced and celebrated across the country, many like Jordyn Young, 21, found it hard to find happiness in the result of the verdict. 

The Clinton, Md. native said, “I was watching with my mom. [We were] holding each other and crying, waiting for the verdict,” she said. “Once we heard the guilty verdict on all three charges, we were so happy. But, yet I can’t feel like this is a true victory. There are so many people that still need true justice and accountability so this small step can’t deter us from the goal of abolishing and defunding the police system and replacing it with something actually effective.”

Like Young, Kannette King, was on edge while she watched the verdict announcement. Before the verdict was announced, King, 20, instantly thought of Trayvon Martin’s murder case where George Zimmerman was acquitted on all of the charges filed against him. With this case in mind, King was unsure what to expect with Chauvin’s case.

“As my classmates and I watched via zoom the verdict of Derek Chauvin transpire, we could only feel a sense of hopelessness and uneasiness as we remembered watching the Trayvon Martin case,” The Statesboro, Ga. native said, “As tears of joy fell from our eyes, we were surprised that a crumb of justice had been served.”

For King’s generation, the murder of Trayvon Martin was the first memorable case of justice not being served in the wrongful killing of an African American. After countless murders like Martin have been closed without justice, many people believe Chauvin’s conviction is a step in the right direction but emphasized there is still a long way to go.

Aisha Flowers, 32, expressed the results of the verdict left her with a plentiful of emotions, but her most important takeaway was the fight left for African Americans in today’s society.

The Baltimore resident said, “I am filled with tons of emotions due to the guilty verdict. The jurors understood the assignment at hand. Although this is a small win for us, there is much more work to be done. We can’t stop fighting, this is just the beginning. We have to keep going until the color of our skin is no longer a novelty and black men and women aren’t deemed as a threat to society.”