From Raleigh to Fayetteville, reaction pours in after Chauvin found guilty in George Floyd's death

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Wednesday, April 21, 2021
NC reaction pours in after Chauvin found guilty in George Floyd's death
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Reaction poured in from George Floyd's native Fayetteville to Raleigh and across the state on Tuesday after a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of all charges related to Floyd's death last year.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Reaction poured in from George Floyd's native Fayetteville to Raleigh and across the state on Tuesday after a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of all charges related to Floyd's death last year.

"I appreciate the jury's work for justice," Gov. Roy Cooper said in a tweet. "George Floyd's death shouldn't have happened and we must continue to work to bring positive change to our state and country."

Floyd's uncle. Roger Floyd, spoke to ABC11 after the verdict was announced.

"It means a great deal." Roger Floyd said. "As a family, we are so gratified to get the result that we had prayed for. A verdict of guilty on all three counts. It was just solidified today, what the world had been anticipating for almost a year."

Roger Floyd said his nephew's death had been "a modern-day lynching."

Reacting at a city council meeting as the news broke, Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said "justice has been served."

Baldwin told ABC11's Gloria Rodriguez she was greatly relieved upon hearing the verdict

"And, you know, again, I said justice is served. And that feeling of the right thing happened is just a good feeling," said Baldwin. "I grew up in the 60s. I remember what happened then. I remember the civil rights movement. And I think what really makes me emotional is realizing that we haven't come as far as we thought we had. And you know I've said this all along. Now, now it's our moment. We've got to take advantage of this moment, and do the right thing."

The mayor is asking anyone looking to demonstrate to come peacefully.

"What I'm asking, begging, is that people may want to come, demonstrate, they may want to come celebrate. But whatever, please come in peace. I believe that's the greatest way we can honor the memory of George Floyd and mark this new beginning for our country," said Baldwin.

WATCH: Floyd's family in Houston reacts to the verdict

A spokesperson for the George Floyd Memorial Foundation told ABC11 that the organization was satisfied with the verdict.

"We are pleased that the individual who senselessly killed George Floyd in cold blood and for the world to see has been held accountable for his reprehensible actions," said Jacari Harris, executive director of the George Floyd Memorial Foundation. "While nothing can bring George back, we are thankful that a jury of Derek Chauvin's peers recognized that what he did was criminal."

Harris said in a statement that the goal of the foundation is to "keep George's memory alive by honoring him through acts of service and by providing opportunities for high school students and law school students to have every opportunity to succeed by providing much-needed scholarships and other financial assistance ... we will work to continue to emulate all of the positive things he did while he lived because we believe his caring spirit will never die."

READ MORE: Biden to George Floyd's family after Derek Chauvin verdict: 'We're so relieved'

Floyd was a Fayetteville native but spent most of his formative years in Houston. He died May 25 at 46 after being arrested on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill for a pack of cigarettes at a corner market. He panicked, pleaded that he was claustrophobic and resisted arrest when officers tried to put him in a squad car. They put him on the ground instead.

"Today's verdict is evidence that social and criminal justice reform is taking place. The jurors decided that George Floyd's life mattered," Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin said. "Many people saw themselves when they looked at Floyd under that officer's knee. It was Floyd who died but next time, if there is a next time, it could be someone else."

Since last summer's George Floyd protests, the city of Fayetteville has removed the Market House from its seal and, most recently, chosen to repurpose the historical building that was once a place where enslaved people were sold.

A group of demonstrators plan to meet outside the Market House every Friday evening until the anniversary of George Floyd's death to push for police reform and accountability at the local level.

WATCH: NCCU professor on what Chauvin verdict means for justice system

Durham Mayor Steve Schewel tweeted "Thank God that justice was served."

The jury came back with its verdict after about 10 hours of deliberations during two days. Chauvin was found guilty on the three charges he faced: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

"Today, we saw a change," Colvin said. " Even if it is just the start. Floyd was born in Fayetteville. It is important to remember what happened in Minneapolis and in cities across this nation. Remember this tragedy and the rest that unfolded. Do what you can do to be a better neighbor, a better friend. We can't bring back Mr. Floyd but we can honor his life with peace, with change and with our good deeds."

READ MORE: National reaction to the verdict

Statewide, other politicians also weighed in.

Congresswoman Deborah Ross said "Today justice has been served but our work to ensure justice, safety, unity and opportunity for all must continue every day. I'm praying for George Floyd's family and our nation."

Congresswoman Alma Adams, a Democrat who represents North Carolina's 12th District, said, "Justice was served today, and while that will not bring back George Floyd or the countless thousands lost to state-sanctioned violence, it means the millions of Americans struggling, fighting to breathe free are closer to living in a just, beloved community. Thank you to the judge, the jurors, and the officers of the court for your work. However, in spite of today's verdict, our work continues. The Senate must pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to ensure that no other father, mother, son, daughter, aunt, uncle, sister, brother or loved one again dies at the hands of the police without accountability. Without passing the bill that bears his name, true justice for George Floyd and countless other victims still remains to be served."