A verdict typically indicates the end of a story but in this case, it’s just the beginning.
Derek Chauvin, a former Police officer, was charged with murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. Chauvin pinned Floyd's neck to the ground for 9 minutes as he screamed he couldn't breathe. The killing of an innocent black man sparked outrage throughout the country,
KFI News got immediate reactions to the verdicts from downtown Los Angeles at Grand Park. Reactions from the Black community were bittersweet. There was a sense of happiness mixed with sadness of knowing the struggle continues.
“Initial thoughts? Finally! Initial Thoughts? Keep the momentum going and continue to heal our community”
This is more than just a random bad cop killing a stranger and receiving deserved justice. To communities of color, it symbolizes hope for change.
There was reference to the infamous case in '92 when Rodney King was brutally beaten by LAPD officers, who were acquitted. Other numerous cases were remembered with the same outcome. Eventually, to some, hope was frail.
To those affected people, this case symbolized relief and change. KFI News wanted to get reactions first-hand, and understand what change means and what some members of the Black community are expecting from this.
Before the verdicts were read, nerves were on edge. KFI News got the perspective of civil rights leader, Capri Maddox, General Manager of the Los Angeles Civil Human Rights and Equity Department. Maddox spoke about the toll this has had on not only her, but her family. She put her titles aside and spoke purely from the perspective of a Black Woman. Take a listen to what she had to say.
First AME Church Pastor Edgar Boyd talked to a diverse group who gathered at the LAPD Headquarters, along with the LA County Sheriff. The religious leaders showed their respect to Police Chief Michel Moore and Sheriff Villanueva. With respect in mind, Boyd talked to them about what to expect from this verdict. If Derek Chauvin was acquitted, it would certainly bring back the eerie memory of what happened to Rodney King in 1992. He wanted matters to stay peaceful and called for understanding with the officers. You can hear what he said below.
Reverend Najuma Smith-Pollard’s passion on the topic was memorable. We met her in Inglewood to hear her hope for the future. Her entire interview can be heard below.
Reverend Najuma gave a glimpse of the female perspective and it was pretty aligned with the male perspective. KFI news went to Compton’s Greater Zion Church and interviewed Three Generations of Black Men, Freddie Gordon,66, Chairman of the Deacon Board; Pastor Michael Fisher, 41, and Tevin Jones, 29 Youth Pastor. Three generations with similar and different perspectives.
Take a listen to After the Verdict: A Path Forward