Mississippians react to Derek Chauvin guilty verdict


JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The cry for justice in the case of George Floyd’s murder was heard all over the country and Mississippi was no exception. It really emphasizes how things can trickle down to community levels everywhere in America.

We had college teams skip practice to march in sympathy with George Floyd and protests outside Mississippi government buildings against racial injustice.

Almost one year later since the world saw fired officer Derek Chauvin drill his knew into George Floyd’s neck while handcuffed, the images still sit with people everywhere.

“It reminded me of so much pain that I know so many families have experienced,” Rukia Lumumba with the People’s Advocacy Institution said. “So many people have experienced at the hands of people who are supposed to keep us safe.”

“I was hoping it went through where they got a chance to find him guilty of the charges,” Walter Johnson of Canton told us. “Because and he needs to be punished for what he’d done because he took another man’s life.”

The street corner where George Floyd lost his life sits over 1,000 miles north of the Jackson Metro but those concerned in Mississippi are staying focused on this incident that could impact anyone anywhere.

“It happens anywhere every day at all given times so everyone needs to be more aware of their surroundings,” Alexandria Watson of Canton stated. “And make sure to comply so if anything happens it’s on their end and we’ll no it’s not us.”

“It can absolutely continue to happen here,” Lumumba added. “It’s not about the place it’s about the institution. And we know that the institution of policing has long been an institution that’s inflected harm.”

Going forward many are hoping the conviction of Derek Chauvin sheds light on a broader issue with policing in America and push for permanent reform.

“It’s terrifying honestly to have to fear someone who’s being paid to protect your community,” Watson said. “And do the exact opposite and have no remorse for it.”

“Justice means that we create institutions, that we crest policies and practice that we create real responses to harm,” Lumumba explained. “That don’t inflict more harm on the very people it’s supposed to protect.”

Activists in Mississippi connected the tragedy of George Floyd to other controversial arrests or killings around the state and urge everyone to be on the lookout for one another’s safety.

The ACLU of Mississippi Executive Director Jarvis Dortch released the following statement:

We are relieved that Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd. We are relieved that George Floyd’s family will receive justice. But, true justice is more than one verdict. Holding police accountable for abuse of power, disparate treatment, and excessive force against Black communities cannot be rare. George Floyd was one of more than 5,000 people killed by police since 2015. We must root out the racism that is sewn into the fabric of our system of law enforcement. We must prohibit police mistreatment of Black communities, which leads to people being both underserved and overpoliced. We must honor the life of George Floyd and the numerous other Black victims of police violence by creating a more just system.

ACLU of Mississippi Executive Director Jarvis Dortch

Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba also released a statement about the verdict.

This verdict is just, but it is not justice. Justice restores and repairs. No action can restore the life of our brother George Floyd to his family and community. So, we are grateful for the statement that this verdict makes to those who seek to kill us and deny us humanity, but we are still grieving that it came at the cost of the life of a father, brother, son, and friend. We must remember George Floyd as more than a symbol of the systemic failures of the criminal justice system in this country. Our prayers remain focused on his family.

Despite George Floyd’s murderer being found guilty, our communities are still distressed by the frequent instances we have had in this country to seek justice for the lives ripped from us. What gives me hope is not the verdict, but the folks on the ground – the organizers – who supported the Floyd family, raised funds, educated, and demanded justice. If there is anything to be celebrated, it is that work. We must concretize this moment and struggle without cease until we reveal a true model of public safety which not only protects us all, but demonstrates humanity and dignity.

Chokwe A. Lumumba, Mayor of Jackson

U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) responded to the verdict on social media.

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