Home » ‘Power to the people!’ Hundreds gather around the city to celebrate Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict

‘Power to the people!’ Hundreds gather around the city to celebrate Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict

Cheers erupted from hundreds around the city who took to the streets and parks to celebrate after a jury found fired Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin guilty of all charges in the May 25, 2020 murder of George Floyd.

In a celebratory burst at a gathering of Black Lives Matter supporters in Union Square, about 500 people throughout the park shouted: “Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!” Cars honked as they passed the crowd screaming “Oh my God!” and “Black Lives Matter!”

BLM Greater New York co-founder Hawk Newsome, center, waits for a verdict in Derek Chauvin trial in Manhattan's Union Square Monday.

Asia Townsend, 58, a nurse who works at Mt. Sinai Hospital, desperately tried to find relatives on her phone to share the news.

“I’m so happy. I’m just so thrilled,” Townsend said. “I’ve been watching the trial from the beginning. Derek Chauvin knew what he was doing. He had animosity for George Floyd. You could see the pure hatred he had for that man.”

Moments later, she threw her fist in the air and yelled, “Power to the people!”

In Times Square, about 200 mostly young people crowded together before a march south on Ninth Ave., while dozens of cops watched from a discreet distance.

“I was in disbelief at first,” said Mary Rotcfusz, 42, a meditation teacher from East Harlem who was in Times Square Tuesday evening. “Derek Chauvin looked as surprised as I did,” she said, adding: “I feel a little bit of hope. Maybe there is some momentum for police accountability.”

Another group of demonstrators gathered outside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Activist Jessica Schwartz of the New York Community Action Project said that protests and public sentiment pushed the criminal justice system to take action against Chauvin.

“We must demand a huge system of accountability,” she said. “We will not see a change in policing until we see a change in the system. This is just one step towards that.”

The separate groups all made their way toward Washington Square Park at the end of the night, where a crowd of about 1,000 protesters and park-goers gathered peacefully.

Black Lives Matter Greater New York co-founder Hawk Newsome, who watched the verdict from Union Square, praised the “true power in this country” that “lies with the people.”

“It was the millions of people who turned out in the streets. It was their peaceful actions and their non-peaceful actions that rendered this verdict of guilty on all three charges,” he said of earlier protests that roiled the city and nation after Floyd’s murder.”

“For the first time in my life, I’ve seen justice prevail for Black people,” he added.

“Chauvin definitely deserved it,” said Vanessa Marino, 36, a corporate marketer from Manhattan who also celebrated at Union Square. “It was blatantly murder.”

She added, “You can’t expect law enforcement to enforce the law then not uphold it. This is justice. It’s a beautiful day and now we have this verdict.”

Andre Gunter, 36, an accountant from Brooklyn, was in the park when the celebration got started, and joined in the jubilation.

“It’s justice for one day at least,” Gunter said. “Today I can smile. There’s still a lot of work to do but for now we can celebrate.”

Other videotaped police killings, like the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner on Staten Island, have resulted in no criminal charges for the cops involved, he said.

”Everything’s on camera nowadays and even then there’s no justice,” he said. “But this time America got it right.”

The sentiments were similar around the nation.

In Houston, Texas’ Third Ward, the historically Black neighborhood where Floyd grew up, a small crowd gathered under a tent near a mural of Floyd to listen to the verdict as it was read on TV. People driving by honked their car horns and yelled, “Justice!”

“We feeling good. We thank everybody that stood with us. It’s a blessed moment,” said Jacob David, 39, who knew Floyd and wiped away tears.

Tesia Lisbon, a community activist in Florida’s capital of Tallahassee, said she was “so very, very overwhelmed right now.”

“We’ve just become so accustomed to not receiving justice,” said Lisbon, who was one of 19 people arrested by police last September during a Black Lives Matter march.

And in St. Louis, a police association made up predominantly of Black officers called the verdict important but “a pebble in the ocean.”

“This victory is small but historical. Yet, why should we be thankful for something that is right? Why should we be thankful when George Floyd doesn’t have his life or his future?” said a statement from the Ethical Society of Police, which represents about 260 St. Louis officers. “We all need to continue to fight for a change. … We need change to end this systemic racism.”

In a Tweet Tuesday, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea declared that “justice has been served,” adding the NYPD “will be out tonight to ensure that peaceful demonstrations have the ability to proceed safely.”

State Attorney General Letitia James sued the NYPD over its heavy-handed, often violent response to last year’s George Floyd protests.

Earlier Tuesday, Shea said the department’s Community Affairs Units will be more heavily involved in the response to demonstrations over the verdict — a move recommended by the city Department of Investigation.

With News Wire Services

Source (Ny Daily news)

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