WV leaders weigh in on next steps after Derek Chauvin trail

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Derek Chauvin is now in a maximum-security prison—in a segregated housing unit for his own safety after a jury found him guilty on all three counts in George Floyd’s murder. Locally, people are gearing up for what happens next.

Leaders in the community say it was a sigh of relief after hearing a guilty verdict but add there’s still a long road ahead to fight police brutality and racism.

“Really need to look over our judicial system. It’s broken,” Bishop Robert Haley, Pastor of A More Excellent Life Center Church said.

Haley says the system needs to be colorblind.

“The system has to be geared to accept us as we are. We shouldn’t have to change who we are to be accepted in the United States or deal with the police department,” Haley said.

The murder conviction of a police officer is extremely rare. According to the New York Times, chances of an officer being convicted of murder is about one in 2,000, and there have only been seven murder convictions of officers for deadly police shootings since 2005.

“Our next steps are continuing to have those uncomfortable conversations and be in those uncomfortable places and spaces,” Del. Danielle Walker said.

One of the biggest things Bishop Haley says people of color can do is cast their ballot in local elections since it affects everyday lives.

“These local elections, the city, the county, the state elections mean so much. We have to change the complexion of city council, Kanawha county commission and other places,” Haley said.

Del. Walker says multiple pieces of legislation focusing on minorities and people of color have failed, but she poses the one question.

“The murder, the slaughter, the killings of George Floyd, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Aubrey and so many others, when will that ever be a part of American history,” Del. Walker said.

Both leaders say this conviction gives advocates more fuel to continue to fight for equality.

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