SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – Groups around the city reacted Tuesday to the news that former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in the killing of George Floyd.
Empact Sacramento organizer Leia Schenk gathered supporters Tuesday evening at River Walk Park not to celebrate, but to come together and reflect on what took place in the Minneapolis courtroom earlier that day.
“This is not a celebratory moment, this is a moment that we just need to get together for our own mental health to be able to process what took place and how we feel about this,” Schenk said.” We have to be able to lend to each other and be able to process what took place today and talk about moving forward, what we need to do as a community because there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.”
Schenk said other community activists and speakers are scheduled to join Tuesday night, and that all are welcome to attend by looking for the green, red and black balloons.
At Cesar Chavez Park, Stevante Clark spoke to community members and introduced artists who sang and spoke about justice, including one woman who asked the crowd to get on their knees as she rapped about people who were killed by police this year.
A clothing giveaway for those suffering from homelessness was also set up, with items collected by various people available to take.
“I feel like finally there’s a little light at the end of the tunnel,” said Francis Nevarez, whose daughter was shot and killed in Citrus Heights in 2014 during what she called a mental health episode.
The shooting was ruled lawful by the district attorney and charges were not filed against the officers involved.
“I think that there’s going to start to be a lot of changes that are going to start happening, these police are going to be held accountable for their actions and they’re going to realize that they can’t continue to do this anymore,” Nevarez told FOX40. “They’re going to be held accountable and we’re not going to stand for this, our lives matter.”
“Today was a victorious day, it was a great day in history because there was some change that happened and it’s only going to get better from here,” she continued.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg commented on the verdict in a tweet saying:
These guilty verdicts is not the end of the quest for justice, but a necessary beginning. Our country’s most persistent virus, racism, will not be wiped away with one verdict. But this jury’s decision offers hope that our criminal justice system can hold law enforcement officers to account when they needlessly take the lives of the people they are sworn to protect and serve, and who pose no real threat. George Floyd’s death prompted a collective outcry that was a catalyst for our city to continue making significant police reforms, and we will continue our quest for transparency, accountability and humane policing.Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg
Community activist Berry Accius told FOX40 he was surprised the verdict was guilty on all counts, but doesn’t want people to be too comfortable in this moment.
“And I just want folks to be well aware that though this is a moment that we should celebrate a little, we have to understand that there’s a long journey ahead of us and we have so much more work to do,” he said. “So let’s not be too excited about this moment. But I will say that I am relieved that there was a verdict that was in more favor of the people and the family of George Floyd.”
Accius has been repeatedly calling for accountability, transparency and consequences in policing.
“This is something that now sets the bar for policing in America because it wasn’t just this officer that was on trial, it was policing in America on trial,” he explained.