Marchers in Grand Rapids react to murder verdict in George Floyd’s death

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Marchers in downtown Grand Rapids raised their fists together Tuesday afternoon following the announcement of convictions in the death of George Floyd.

A relatively small but passionate group took to the streets after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter on the afternoon of April 20.

Danny Santiago, Vice President of Justice for Black Lives in Grand Rapids, walked with a fist held high and repeatedly shouted “guilty”.

The group’s leaders said while satisfied with the verdict, there is still much work to be done to get justice for others who have died at the hands of the police. These include Daunte Wright, who was fatally shot by police in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, on April 11, and Breonna Taylor, a former Grand Rapids resident, who was shot dead by police at her home in Louisville, Kentucky in March 2020 has been.

Related: Derek Chauvin found guilty on all charges in the death of George Floyd

Alyssa Bates, president of the Justice for Black Lives group, described the verdict as a “positive step in the right direction”.

“As we celebrate the guilty verdict, we need to remember the families who weren’t so lucky with a guilty verdict … because those families deserve better,” Bates said. “You better deserve it from the police. They deserve better from their land. “

She was speaking just steps from the volunteer Breonna Taylor Way on the corner of Monroe Center and Pearl Street.

Hennepin District Judge Peter A. Cahill read the jury’s verdict shortly after 5 p.m. The 45-year-old chauvin has been convicted of second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter. The jury deliberated for around 10 hours for two days before making a decision.

Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died after the white chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed.

After Floyd’s death, a peaceful protest in Grand Rapids turned into a riot on May 30, with more than $ 2 million in damage reported in the downtown area. Rioters lit fires, smashed hundreds of windows, and looted and destroyed shops.

Related: Review of the Grand Rapids uprising, damage, and charge in “unprecedented” hand-to-hand combat

On Tuesday, about a dozen Grand Rapids police officers were seen on a bicycle patrol to keep an eye on developments downtown. Approximately six large public works trucks were parked on side streets in case they were needed to cordon off streets.

The city also put up concrete barricades in the downtown area, including around Grand Rapids Police Headquarters.

“We also need to be on our guard against those who want to use these events to undermine the work we have already started here,” Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Payne and City Administrator Mark Washington said in a joint statement .

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