Weber County civil rights activists reply with aid, tears at Chauvin verdict | Native Information

OGDEN – The response to the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin Trial by Weber County’s most advocate of the African American community has been quick and strong.

The relief of the jury’s decision was noticeable among the reactions. “I feel like I can breathe,” said Jacarri Kelley, a Northern Utah executive with Black Lives Matter. “Finally I can only breathe a little.”

Others praised the US judicial system and said it should be trustworthy. “You have to trust our judicial system,” said Brandon Roundy, assistant director of Weber County’s sheriff’s office. “It’s not perfect, but it’s the best in the world.”

A jury Tuesday found Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, guilty of killing George Floyd when he arrested him on May 25 last year on three charges, including second degree murder. The incident sparked protests across the country and called for police reform, including here in Ogden. Here’s how some of those involved in Weber County civil rights efforts, Utah leaders, and others responded to Tuesday’s ruling:

Kelley: Thinking Chauvin would be found guilty, she said Tuesday’s verdict was meant to serve as a reminder to follow up calls from groups like Black Lives Matter and others.

“It should be a clear warning to all police officers and policymakers who don’t take us seriously … They can’t always ignore us because the world is watching now. The world was looking for that last year,” she said.

She did not plan to participate in public demonstrations as she was concerned about backlash from those who might criticize the verdict. Kelley helped organize several local demonstrations last summer in response to Floyd’s murder.

US Representative Blake Moore: “I believe in the American judicial system and I am grateful that justice served in a fair trial. I sincerely hope that we can use this critical moment to listen better and establish respectful dialogue as we seek unity in our country, “said Moore, a Republican, in a statement, who is Utah’s 1st District representative.

Malik Dayo: He said he was “excited” about the verdict but feared Chauvin would be found innocent. Dayo also helped organize protests against Floyd’s murder and for police reform last summer in Ogden.

“I’m actually crying. You know what? It’s amazing to me,” said Dayo. “I hope it sends a message that if the police act outside the law, they must be held accountable for their actions. They must see this and realize that it will no longer be what it was before.” “

The verdict doesn’t mean the struggle for civil rights will get easier, he said, although it should serve as an inspiration. “I think it will always be a long journey. This is definitely a leap forward in the right direction. It’s a leap forward and I think it gives hope for change to all activists,” he said. He did not plan to participate in protests and was also concerned about backlash from counter-protesters.

US Representative Burgess Owens: “Today justice was served in the senseless assassination of George Floyd. I pray for peace and healing in Minnesota and across the country as we, the people, come together to build bridges for positive change,” said Owens, a Republican, in a tweet. He is Utah’s 4th District representative.

Adrienne Andrews: Andrews waited for the verdict on the case and felt like it was in her throat. After hearing the verdict, she felt it pound hard in her chest.

Now she hopes the jury’s decision will lead the general public to “come together and have a national discussion about police and racism in this country”. Though expressing her views as hers alone, she serves as Weber State University’s chief diversity officer and has hosted several public police and race meetings in Weber County.

She said she actually felt comfortable working with law enforcement in northern Utah, noting that “being a black person isn’t always the usual feeling.” Ogden Police Chief Eric Young and his predecessors, she continued, “work incredibly hard to make a difference.”

However, this does not mean that there are no systems of racism or biased violence that need to be addressed. On the contrary, there is much to be done, she said, noting a virtual conversation she had organized about the use of force and accountability by the police, which coincides with Chauvin’s verdict. It is an event sponsored by the Ogden Diversity Commission and scheduled to take place starting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday. Attendees include Young, Weber County Sheriff Ryan Arbon, and Roy’s Chief of Police Carl Merino.

US Representative John Curtis: It is clear to him, Curtis said in a tweet before the verdict, “that crucial talks that began with George Floyd’s death have only just begun and regardless of the outcome of the trial, there is still much to be done.” He is Utah’s US Representative in the 3rd District and a Republican.

Betty Sawyer: Sawyer, director of the Ogden division for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said Floyd’s murder and other events last year caused much grief and “collective pain”.

“When I heard the verdict today, I was hopeful,” she said. It is “extremely important” to keep pressure on for police reform and hold officials accountable for what they do.

Like many others, she said Tuesday’s court ruling did not end battles over people with color. Rather, “it is just another step in a long way to alleviate the injuries and trauma blacks have endured in all of our communities,” she said.

Roundy, of the Weber County Sheriff’s Office, was not aware of any Weber County protests called in response to the verdict. But if someone feels called to act peacefully, that is his right. “We support the exercise of constitutional rights and hope that if they choose to do so, they will do so peacefully,” Roundy said.

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