After a year of protests and a three-week trial, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd, a conviction President Joe Biden called “a giant step forward in the march toward justice in America.”
Brandon Pope, a reporter and anchor at CW 26 and writer for Ebony magazine, reflected on the events of the past week as a Black journalist.
“It’s been tough. A lot of people had a collective sigh of relief at the verdict, but I found it tough to find joy because the verdict doesn’t change my reality today or next week,” he said. “It doesn’t change the talk I have to have with my niece or nephew the next month. I just want to see some progress and I’m hoping that we don’t get complacent here, and keep our eye on the prize and keep fighting for progressive change.”
NPR correspondent Cheryl Corley has been covering the trial from Minneapolis, and says she sees many parallels in the Chauvin trial to events in Chicago.
“We have somewhat similar histories. We’ve seen a lot of things happen here in Chicago. It made me think about [former Chicago police officer Jason] Van Dyke and Laquan McDonald case … But you know, we’ve seen these kinds of tensions all over the country, not just in Chicago, not just in Minneapolis,” she said.
Pope also sees similarities between the McDonald and Floyd murders that led to guilty verdicts for the officers who killed them.
“We’re in this weird space of celebrating the guilty verdicts that have come down, but then also thinking about this idea that, are guilty verdicts only possible in the most egregious, videotaped, highly documented, highly publicized cases?” he asked.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi drew criticism for her unscripted remarks following the verdict, in which she thanked George Floyd for his “sacrifice,” saying his name would be synonymous with justice.
MTV News correspondent Dometi Pongo says he thinks her comments mischaracterized the nature of Floyd’s death.
“The Pelosi statement made me very uncomfortable because there’s this idea that there’s some nobility in martyrdom,” Pongo said. “There’s no nobility in going to the store and not being able to come home and not see your family … this isn’t something that Floyd wanted to be. So I know we’re trying to find silver linings and yes, his name is synonymous with this big watershed moment in history, but … This man did not set out to be a martyr where he sacrifices in the name of civil rights. He’s just a regular guy.”