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from Cleveland 19 News: Northeast Ohio reacts to guilty verdict in Derek Chauvin trial

Posted April 20, 2021
10:37 am

Written by Stephanie Czekalinski and Kelly Kennedy in Cleveland 19 News on 04/20/2021.

Much of America was glued to our screens Tuesday evening as the jury found Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts in the murder trial of George Floyd.

Some people gathered in Public Square as the verdict was read. Other local institutions and individuals issued statements; still others took to Twitter and other social media outlets.

Here is a collection of reactions from across the community. We will update this story as additional statements are issued.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine:

“A jury in Minneapolis has spoken by convicting Derek Chauvin of second and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

“Our system of justice worked. The jury members listened to both sides, weighed the evidence, and came to this verdict.

“As we go forward as a nation, we must learn from the tragic death of George Floyd.”

Augie Napoli, president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Cleveland:

“Today’s guilty verdict against former police officer Derek Chauvin brings justice for the murder of George Floyd and marks a profound moment in our nation’s history. But one year and many more senseless deaths later, racial injustice continues to ravage our nation and communities. That’s why now, more than ever, it’s essential for our city and our country to come together to continue the fight for equal justice for all and demand accountability from those who subject people of color, especially black and brown people, to acts of brutality and injustice. At United Way of Greater Cleveland, we denounce every act of violence, injustice and racism perpetrated against our neighbors – not only in Cleveland but nationwide. We will neither forget nor neglect our responsibility to continue to speak up and speak out for our neighbors so every person in our community can live without fear and thrive.”

The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland:

Legal Aid is heartened by today’s verdict and the court’s recognition that Black Lives Matter.

This case sadly serves to illustrate that we have not yet realized our country’s promise of justice for all. Our country and systems must exhibit respect for all people, and reflect the principle that Black Lives Matter.

The duty of a police officer is to protect and safeguard. The violent death of George Floyd is just one instance of police aggression that we have witnessed too frequently in our country. As this horrible case ends, we can no longer let the familiar be the accepted.

Legal Aid vehemently condemns Derek Chauvin’s actions. We grieve for George Floyd, his family and community. We implore everyone in positions of leadership in our community to think critically about how we can rectify the flaws in our current system which led to this case.

Racism is entrenched in our country’s institutions. We can work together to extend justice and create change.

Legal Aid stands in solidarity with the oppressed and ignored in our community. Since our founding in 1905, we have fought for equity and justice. We know that we can achieve freedom from oppression only when we all work together – as individuals and organizations – to dismantle racism. A better world is possible.

On Tuesday evening dozens of people gathered in Public Square in Downtown Cleveland to celebrate the guilty verdict.

“Honestly, my heart was in my throat as I was riding down here listening to NPR and they just kept pushing it off and I’m like would you just read the verdict cause we know what would happen if it didn’t go that way and in my opinion, you know all the evidence was there,” said Josiah Quarles with Black Spring Cleveland. “Everybody knew, the whole country knew exactly what happened and there was no reason to call it anything other than murder.

Black Lives Matter Cleveland organized the rally.

“If you asked me to put it into one word, relief would be the word for sure,” said Asia Jones, Outreach Director for Black Lives Matter Cleveland. “Like I woke up knowing we were going into the second day of deliberations with the jury, and I was just nervous honestly because I didn’t want history to repeat itself and we wanted a guilty verdict.”

“It’s just deeply disheartening that we have to fight so much but I am grateful that for one moment we could take a breath,” said Chrissy Stonebraker-Martinez, Co-Director of IRTF Cleveland.

“I’m glad they did the right thing,” said Quarles. “I’m glad we didn’t see anything burned tonight and we can be out here talking about our next win rather than another atrocity on top of an atrocity.”

“The work that we did last year and that we’re gonna continue to do strategically it’s going to continue to have outcomes like this, justice, guilty on all 3 counts,” said Jones. “That matters so much to us because we’ve been working on the streets off the streets with the community and this evening we want to celebrate and feel the joy for justice truly being served.”

Organizers are holding a Mayday workers assembly on May 1st at Wade Lagoon to continue fighting for justice.

Click here to read the full article in Cleveland 19 News.

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