'His last breath was not in vain': Local leaders react after Derek Chauvin found guilty of George Floyd's murder

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all counts for the murder of George Floyd on Tuesday, Fresno and California leaders shared their thoughts.

When D'Aungillique Jackson finally heard the guilty verdict, she was overcome with many conflicting emotions.

"I got angry immediately. It shouldn't have been second degree, that should have been first degree, but he was charged guilty on all fronts. That is everything that we all need," she says.

After ten and a half hours of deliberation, the jury finally came to a verdict.

Jackson is president of the NAACP Fresno State Chapter.

Along with many others, she has been on the forefront in the fight for justice for people of color within the Fresno community.

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As one of the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement, she was happy but not satisfied.

"Justice for black people shouldn't be touchdown-worthy. It shouldn't be something that we celebrate; it should be expected," she says.

Jackson says this verdict gives activists like herself something to smile about temporarily.

It's motivation to keep pressing on because there are still injustices everywhere, she says.

"It's unfortunate to say that George Floyd was one of many and it doesn't stop the work, it doesn't mean that racism is cured or solved or that discrimination is over or all of our issues are fixed, but it opens the door, hopefully, more than just slightly."

Another community leader, pastor DJ Criner, was in tears on Tuesday afternoon.

When he heard the verdict, he said he knew it was hope for future wins for African American men and women in the justice system.

"His last breath was not in vain," Criner said.

"The life of an African American man who cried out for help, it just feels like he's heard... but also for every other African American men, who is living in fear of being harassed for the color of their skin. Maybe now folks will think twice about judging people by the color of their skin not the content of their character," he added.

A community gathering was underway on Tuesday afternoon in front of Fresno's City Hall.

Jackson is leading those efforts, with hopes of continuing the fight.

CSU Chancellor Joseph Castro, the first person of color in the role and the recent president of Fresno State, said he hopes Tuesday's verdict will give Floyd's family a sense or relief and solace.

"The horrific death of Mr. Floyd - and the trial itself - have been traumatic experiences for many African Americans and other people of color within the CSU community and across the state and nation," he said.
Castro said he urges everyone in the California State University system to "actively embrace anti-racist policies and practices."

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the verdict provides accountability as society works to combat racial injustice. Newsom noted the legislation he recently signed regarding police reform.

"We must continue the work of fighting systemic racism and excessive use of force," he said.
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