Activist groups in Jacksonville react to guilty verdict in Derek Chauvin trial

Ex-officer found guilty of murder, manslaughter in George Floyd’s death

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listens as the verdict is read in his trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. (Court TV via AP, Pool)
In this image from video, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listens as the verdict is read in his trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted Tuesday of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

The jury reached its verdict less than a year after Chauvin, who is white, pinned the 46-year-old Black man down with a knee to his neck last May.

RELATED: Key events since George Floyd’s arrest and death

Here’s how some activist groups and Jacksonville residents reacted to the verdict -- guilty as charged on all counts.

Northside Coalition

Northside Coalition activists known for voicing their concerns stood silent in the Duval County School Board parking lot as the verdict in the Chauvin trial was read.

The verdict: Chauvin was found guilty was of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

The activists then cheered. They had taken part in last summer’s protests following Floyd’s death and demanded justice for him. And on Tuesday afternoon, they got the verdict they wanted.

“This trial was another test to determine whether Black lives really do matter,” said Ben Frazier, president of the Northside Coalition.

Frazier says the verdict was also about holding police accountable.

“We’ve seen too many times when police officers walked away free and clear, despite the fact there was damning evidence against them,” Frazier said.

Activist Hope McMath said: “It’s super emotional. I think because too often, we don’t see justice delivered. So in my heart, I didn’t believe it was going to happen.”

Now, these activists say it’s time to return to their calls for police reform and justice for all.

The activists say the verdict was a victory for the Black Lives Matter movement, but they also say there is more work needed to be done to prevent what happened to Floyd from happening to another person of color.

The activists had gathered for a demonstration over renaming schools but put the demonstration on hold once a verdict was reached.

Jacksonville Community Action Committee

Following the verdict in the Chauvin trial, members of the Jacksonville Community Action Committee, an activist group that fights for justice and liberation, will gather at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday outside the Duval County Courthouse to rally for police accountability.

Christina Kittle, a member of JCAC, says she was relieved after she found out Chauvin was found guilty on all counts in Floyd’s death.

“Pleased with the outcome. It was what I was hoping for,” Kittle said.

She says this is just the beginning of change that needs to come in the police force.

“One of the things we are hoping that comes from this is that it sets a precedent for Jacksonville on how these situations should be handled,” Kittle said.

Kittle says there are still more people that deserve justice after they were killed by police.

“You still have Adam Toledo and Daunte Wright, so they still need justice as well,” Kittle said. “So we will still be continuing to have protests.”

Kittle says JCAC planned to rally after the verdict -- no matter what the outcome was.

Jacksonville NAACP

Isaiah Rumlin, president of the Jacksonville NAACP, also weighed in on the verdict.

“The George Floyd murder case will have a lasting impact throughout this country and this world because what happened was totally wrong and it relates to the way officers continue to treat Black people. They’ve got to stop. There needs to be some reform,” Rumlin said.

Rumlin says he wasn’t nervous about Tuesday’s verdict because of the evidence.

“The lawyers did a good job, the prosecutor did a good job in showing evidence they had,” Rumlin said.

Rumlin says Floyd’s death will have a lasting impact on the police force.

“I think the sheriffs’ departments all over this country and Jacksonville have began to see Black lives and brown lives matter and you just can’t murder someone in the street,” Rumlin said.

Jacksonville residents

When News4Jax was in Five Points Tuesday afternoon -- shortly after the verdict was announced -- people were walking up, wanting to share their reactions to the decisions in the Minneapolis courtroom.

“Well it’s good to hear that someone is actually going to get justice behind what happened in this situation,” said Jacksonville resident Anthony Maxwell.

“I was over the moon. I was emotional,” Jacksonville resident Keri Compton said of her reaction to hearing the verdict.

“I am happy about the verdict and I am happy to see him go to prison,” said Jacksonville resident Erika Furlong.

“I am happy that there is some justice for what happened,” Jacksonville resident Kathleen Laney said.

Activist and Jacksonville resident Darryl Paiva said he pulled over his car to take in the results of the verdict.

“I’m absolutely elated. I pulled over for a few moments in preparation. I wanted to make sure I was in a place where I could have a true reaction,” Paiva said. “When the judge finally gave the notice, I couldn’t have been more happy. For too long now there have been two systems of justice, especially as it comes to police violence, and for the first time, we’ve seen a sign of hope that things can move forward in a more equitable way.”

Paiva says this should be the start of more change to come.

“We need to have a full overhaul of the system, look at defunding the police,” Paiva said. “That’s a triggering word, but the true meaning of that is to allocate funds into other areas.”

Jacksonville resident Wesley Rogers says the country was in a lot of pain leading up to the verdict after seeing the video of Floyd gasping repeatedly, “I can’t breathe.”

“I think from D.C. to California to New York, everybody should feel some kind of relief in the justice system. There is a possibility that not by the color of our skin or the way we look at each other. We all bleed red and God is so good,” Rogers said.

News4Jax also spoke with a woman on vacation from the United Kingdom who said she had been paying close attention to the trial and how it would end.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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