The verdict brings new conversation


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The verdict was a victory for many Utahns.

Some say it led to a change of heart, and others say there is a lot more work to be done.

“George Floyd left a huge legacy,” says Jacarri Kelly with Black Lives Matter Northern Utah.

She says Tuesday’s verdict against former Officer Derek Chauvin was a changing point for the country.

“It is a celebration, it also gives you the determination to keep moving forward,” Kelly adds.

To move forward, many are remembering the past.

Jeanetta Williams, the President of the NAACP Salt Lake Branch, tells us, “With the verdict today go guilty, it was a day to celebrate, to say that all of this hard work that we have done for years, and years, and years, to finally get one verdict against a police officer.”

“I believe that you know, Chauvin was in the wrong,” says James Sullivan with Civilized Awakening.

Sullivan says the case and personal things made him look at himself.

“I was thinking to myself, what would have happened if we just listened to the other side,” he says. “I’ve had a couple of opportunities over the summer, especially everything that happened with my brother John [Sullivan], to kind of step back and see the different problems that we discussed that are hot topics.”

They are hot topics Sullivan says divided the country.

“George Floyd at the end of the day, everybody says a black man lost his life, at the end of the day an American lost his life. That should be a discussion we as people, as fellow Americans, should be able to have,” he says.

It is a discussion that could lead to a new future.

“There is work that we can do together to navigate a pathway forward to restore the public trust and restore the integrity to law enforcement that it keeps getting chipped away when these high profile police brutality cases continue to happen,” says Utah Valley University Assistant Professor of Social Work Lashawn Williams.

In Utah, the work will shift to create new bills and protocols to help mend relationships with law enforcement.

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