Community reflects on Derek Chauvin guilty verdict at Fresno's City Hall

'We have our own issues. We have our own George Floyd case.'
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fresno State chapter of the NAACP hosted a gathering on Tuesday night to remember George Floyd while calling the jury's verdict to convict him the first step toward change in the country.

RELATED: Derek Chauvin verdict: Jury finds ex-cop guilty of murder, manslaughter in George Floyd's death

Reflecting on the historic verdict and looking ahead, community members gathered at Fresno City Hall around a portrait of Floyd.

"It gives hope now that police officers who don't do what they are supposed to do and end up committing a homicide, that they can be held accountable. And that means a lot to people like me because we don't see that often," said West Fresno Christian Center Pastor Jim Parks.

Fresno resident Samantha Trass said the moment former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty for Floyd's death was a moment of relief for her family.

"They're quick to profile our Black men. And it was important for me to come out here because I want my son to live. I want my son to live, I don't want him to be profiled. I do not want the police to see him as a threat because he's not a threat," she said.

But activists said they're seeking more justice, starting here in Fresno.

"We have our own issues. We have our own George Floyd case," said Fresno State NAACP President D'Aungillique Jackson, pointing to the death of Joseph Perez in 2017.

Recently released video from a Fresno police officer's body-worn camera shows him telling officers he was struggling to breathe while on the ground, being restrained, minutes before his death.

RELATED: 'I can't breathe': Fresno police video reveals restrained man's call for help

The family's attorneys say Fresno police officers, Fresno County sheriff's deputies, and American Ambulance paramedics all contributed to the 41-year-old man's death.

They sued all three entities and blamed bad training for creating the conditions for compression asphyxia.

"As community members, we are still hurting and though we can celebrate for the Floyd family, we can still be angry and we can still grieve our own loss and we can still push for change. We are not supposed to be comfortable right now," said Jackson.

Jackson said Chauvin's conviction is a start.

"This is a precedent that we are going to hold onto so let's do that," she said.

May 31st will mark one year since protestors marched from City Hall to the police department after George Floyd's death.

RELATED: George Floyd protests in Fresno: Hundreds gather for demonstrations across city

Fresno NAACP organizers are planning a one-year anniversary march to reflect on the verdict and what's ahead.
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