MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Many breathed a sigh of relief Tuesday after the conviction of Derek Chauvin for George Floyd’s murder, but when it comes to justice, some say there’s still a lot of work to be done.
“I listened to the counts be read off and the guilty verdicts. In response, I held back some tears. And, you know, I tried to process the perpetual trauma and pain that black folks continue to carry,” said Memphis Pastor and Activist, Dr. Earl Fisher.
Fisher says he was pleased with the verdict, but real justice and change in Memphis and around the country start with systemic change.
“Justice looks like us not trying to roll back residency requirements, that would increase the likelihood of someone being unfamiliar with the neighborhood, engaging in the type of policing that we saw this murderous police officer engaged in,” said Fisher.
Tuesday, Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner and Interim Memphis Police Director Mike Ryall shared changes they are making to their respective departments this summer in response to Floyd’s death.
“We have one of the longest recruit classes in the state of Tennessee, but we added 40 hours to that training just to teach that type of thing, not just implicit bias, but that duty to intervene piece,” said Ryall.
“For the first time in sheriff’s office history our recruit class went down to the National Civil Rights Museum so when you’re policing people in this community which is majority African American,” Bonner added.
Fisher says local activists have been advocating for these policies for years, and he hopes to see results sooner rather than later.
“I’ve seen and heard enough of the lip service,” he said. “I want to see if we can track some concrete developments over the next four or five years and if we find ourselves back in the same position, talking about this as a good start, or where do we go from here, then I think it’s time for us to level some concrete accountability.”
Fisher says he hopes Chauvin will be sentenced to the maximum time in prison and won’t be another example of soft sentencing.