Calls continue for police accountability following Chauvin guilty verdict

Following the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, the Justice Department on Wednesday announced it’s opening a sweeping investigation into policing practices in Minneapolis.

Chauvin was found guilty of murder and manslaughter in George Floyd’s death last May. Jacksonville attorney Reganel Reeves said the jury got the verdict right, but he said the fight for civil rights and police accountability can’t stop.

“This trial right here is the trial of this generation,” Reeves said. “Obviously, civil rights is a slow moving process in this country. Seeing somebody, you know, put a knee to the back somebody’s neck for nine minutes, maliciously, and getting convicted shouldn’t be a surprise.”

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

Since Floyd’s death, police reform arguments have grown and bills have been introduced in the Florida legislative session, including a bill that would require more in-depth background checks for police applications and limiting use of chokeholds to only threatening situations.

Reeves said the justice system is working, but requires work on the local level.

News4Jax spoke with Steve Zona, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police in Jacksonville, who said people should have faith that the system is working.

“Instead of people saying I lost trust, I think they should have gained trust in the system that worked the way it was supposed to work. Everybody had their day in court,” Zona said.

Bria Core is president of The Shift Jax and says her work is pursing police reforms.

“Defending the police is about mitigation -- fixing problems and investing in communities and providing services that would help to decrease the likelihood of people turning to crime so there is less of a need for a police force,” Core said.

The Shift Jax wants to prepare communities of color on how to interact with police.

Floyd’s murder only continues the fight of activists and civil rights lawyers who feel there is much more to be done.

Another group continuing its work in the community is the BLM5K, which will soon host its second 5K race in Jacksonville. It’s happening May 1, and organizers said they bring a positive perspective to the Black Lives Matter movement by encouraging participants to donate to charities.


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