UD reacts to Chauvin verdict, Columbus shooting

Photo taken by Kaitlin Lewis at a Black Lives Matter Protest on June 1, 2020. Chauvin’s killing of George Floyd sparked one of the largest civil rights protests in decades.

Kaitlin Lewis    
News Editor

Former Minneapolis police officer Dereck Chauvin was found guilty on Tuesday for the murdering of George Floyd.

After 10 hours of deliberation, a jury made up of seven women and five men found Chauvin guilty on three charges: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin now remains in custody at the Minnesota Correctional Facility and will receive a sentencing in approximately eight weeks. 

The verdict was followed by a roar of reactions across the country. President Joe Biden tweeted yesterday that the verdict is “a step forward” towards racial justice. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley echoed in a tweet that the court’s decision is a step towards “accountability for [Floyd’s] murder.” Many activists have called the verdict a victory to celebrate, but say there is still work to be done.

About 20 minutes before the verdict was reached on Tuesday, 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was shot and killed by police in Columbus, OH. The police were responding to a call made by a female caller about an attempted stabbing in a residential neighborhood. In an unusual move, the Columbus police released a portion of the body cam footage of the police officer who shot Bryant on Tuesday night to the media. 

Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther told the Columbus Dispatch, “We felt transparency in sharing this footage, as incomplete as it is at this time.” 

UD’s Student Government Association (SGA) released a statement today in regards to Chauvin’s verdict. In their email to the student body, they said that this decision “is just a snapshot in time.”

“Justice and accountability need to extend beyond this moment,” read the email. “Our hope is that this is a stepping stone down the path of true equity and equality.”

The letter was signed by the current president and vice-president of SGA, Natalie Coppolino and Annie Philbin. It was also signed by the president and vice-president elect for the 2021-2022 school year, Drew Moyer and Hannah Hoby.

“We pledge to continue down the path that this verdict has set at our feet,” the letter continued. “Now is not the time to stop, but instead it is the time to keep going and keep trailblazing towards more anti-racism efforts and positive social justice change.” 

President Eric Spina also released a statement on Chauvin’s verdict today in a campus-wide email. Spina’s letter acknowledged the mixed reactions that the UD community is facing after witnessing the George Floyd trial, and emphasized that the university is continuing to work towards becoming an anti-racist institution. 

The University still has a long way to go toward our goals of diversity, equity and inclusion for our campus community,” Spina said. “The events of the past weeks, including the trial and the verdict, remind us of the scope and depth of the challenge.”

Spina also acknowledged the university’s 11-Step Anti-Racism Action Plan, which was released by UD after nation-wide protests this past summer. Spina said that both the killing of Floyd and the “accumulation of similar events” motivated this plan for the university. 

Spina also spoke with Flyer News on Wednesday about the shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant, calling any loss of life “terribly tragic.”

“My prayers are with her family and community,” Spina said. “We will strive to support our students and campus community as appropriate as more becomes known about this incident.”

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