LANSING, Mich. —
The Derek Chauvin verdict has sparked a range of emotions across the country as well as here in Lansing.
“This is a very big thing to digest," said Yanice Jackson, the executive director of a Lansing non-profit. "I think I’m still processing it."
Chauvin, a former Minneapolis officer, was found guilty of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd on Tuesday.
Floyd’s death ignited nationwide protests last summer. In Lansing, communities took to the streets to demand a racial reckoning and police reform.
Jazinique Milton says the verdict left her with mixed feelings.
“Honestly I didn’t want to watch just because of everything that has been going on in the country,” she said. “I am happy that he was found guilty, but does it really change our system?”
Jackson said her reaction was also complicated.
“I’m glad that someone was convicted, but that still doesn’t bring back that person,” she said. “It doesn’t bring back all of the people that have already been slain before him.”
Nearly a third of the people killed by police in 2020 were Black despite Black people only making up 13 percent of the population, according to the Mapping Police Violence database.
Just minutes after the verdict was announced, a black teenage girl was fatally shot by police in Columbus, Ohio.
Milton says the cycle of police brutality needs to be addressed in order for progress to happen.
“I think we need to do better policing and better testing for people becoming police officers so that we don’t have this issue anymore,” she said. “We don’t want anymore George Floyds.”
Jackson says the verdict was a step in the right direction, but the nation’s road ahead is a long one.
“You just don’t undo 400 plus years of oppression in one day. When I think of justice, I think of equality. I think of the scales being balanced. They’re not balanced,” she said. “This one thing does not balance the scales.”
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