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Locals react to Derek Chauvin verdict

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Community leaders and activists expressed relief at the conviction of Derek Chauvin.

Posted: Apr 20, 2021 11:23 PM
Updated: Apr 21, 2021 10:07 AM

Tyra McKinsey had seen this story before.

Like many in the African-American community, the longtime community activist had come to expect law enforcement officials to be aquitted in court for actions against Black people. This led to an emotional outpouring upon seeing the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin.

"I didn't know what to expect, because we saw this movie before, even with video being played," McKinsey said. "And so I didn't know what the jury was going to say. I couldn't stop crying, especially as a mother of three black sons and a daughter. Even to hear George Floyd on the ground saying 'mom,' you know, I couldn't stop crying to be honest."

Chauvin's conviction for second-degree accidental murder resonated throughout the country, and Utica is no exception. But while many African-Americans expressed joy for the verdict, Utica consultant on race relations and community liason Patrick Johnson took a more measured approach.

"This is not so much a time to jump up and down and be glad, per se," Johnson said. "It is an opportunity to say yes, there is hope that America is capable of showing spots of accountability. But we know that this thing called justice for black and brown people too often is far fetched."

While the local leaders expressed relief at the verdict, they also recognize that their work is not yet done.

"We're not saying that this is the end all be all, because we're still in the fight," McKinsey said. "I think that is a great start. And I think that because the world was watching, this thing is way bigger than even George Floyd."

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