SAN DIEGO (KGTV)-- San Diego community activists are reacting to Friday’s sentencing of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Yusef Miller, who is part of the North County Equity and Justice Coalition, said he believes protests last year, and people uniting to demand action, led to the 22 and a half year sentence but said it’s still not enough.
“I’m just telling you from a personal experience it doesn’t feel like it really met the mark,” said Miller. “Feels good, but it doesn’t feel justified; it doesn’t feel like enough.”
He said he hopes the sentencing will set a precedent for how in-custody deaths should be handled but believes more police reform is needed across the country and San Diego County.
“There’s a lot of overhauls that needs to be done, and accountability for officers who break that law. We need people fired, decertified, and arrested and sentenced just like we see in this case here,” said Miller.
The president of the NAACP San Diego Branch, Francine Maxwell, released a statement Friday that read in part,
“We look forward to the much needed passing of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. We look forward to bringing widespread accountability to officers who abuse their power, to drive changes to policy and practice in the direction of justice.”
“We stood, and we called for justice, we said that Derek Chauvin should be prosecuted,” said Shane Harris, president of the People’s Association of Justice Advocates.
“We have finished a phase of that fight, but that fight is not over. The Floyd family, as you know, wanted 30 years; today we got a portion of that.”
Harris said the past year allowed communities an opportunity to address racial injustices and reimagine policing.
Last year, people worldwide turned out to protest and demand action after Floyd’s death, including in San Diego County.
Tasha Williamson, a local activist, and mother, said she wants to see more changes on a local level in San Diego County and believes it can happen rapidly if local leaders choose to address the issues.
“They have the power to change systems; you know why we know? Because they ended the carotid restraint on a whim,” she explained.
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria also released the following statement after the sentencing.
“Derek Chauvin is being held accountable for abusing his power and murdering George Floyd. While our justice system is far from perfect, the history books will always remember him as a murderer. George Floyd’s death rallied millions of people from different backgrounds to demand action, and we must keep fighting for change. While this is the end of the Derek Chauvin trial, it is only the beginning of our country’s path toward achieving racial justice.”