TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Local community activists believe the guilty verdicts in Derek Chauvin’s trial will help move the community forward to a system of equal justice. Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts for the murder of George Floyd.
Protests broke out across the country following Floyd’s death last year, including in downtown Terre Haute. After leading demonstrations, organizers like Erick Beverly and Dominique Morefield said they were pleased with the verdict, but that this is just the beginning to reforming America’s justice system.
“I’d be in denial if I said I didn’t feel a feeling of gratitude to see that Derek Chauvin was found guilty of all three charges, but I also heard someone say that a measure of justice is not equal to equal justice,” Beverly said. “So we still have a long way to go. But it is a good feeling to know justice was served.”
“I worried a lot about what would’ve happened if they came back with a not-guilty verdict, because we saw what last summer looked like,” Morefield added. “We saw the entire country being burned down over this murder that occurred. So if the verdict had not been guilty, it would’ve been so much worse than it was last summer.”
That guilty verdict shows accountability, Beverly said, but there’s a bigger issue at hand.
“Hopefully, more people in the community are willing to step up, because it’s obvious that we do have a problem with policing here in America. We need that to change, and what that’s going to take is everyone in the community. Local community people stepping up, coming together as one to make a change here in America,” Beverly explained.
Morefield said seeing the jury make what she called a rare decision offers hope for the future of policing in America.
“We can hold our officials accountable for their actions, and continuing forward, hopefully we can look back on that verdict and give us a little bit of optimism and a little bit of momentum to fight even harder for good outcomes in our own community,” she said.
Beverly plans to continue calling for change within the justice system by hosting more marches locally in the near future.