Syracuse activists and leaders say justice prevails with an ex-officer's guilty verdict but they must press on for police reforms.
ike many on April 20, Bishop Colette Matthews-Carter felt a rush of emotions after hearing the guilty verdict for former police officer Derek Chauvin.
“I feel a sense of relief and vindication that there was justice for George Floyd’s family,” the Syracuse Onondaga NAACP president said.
But Matthews-Carter also suggested that the trial’s outcome had a significance and potential to make a difference in the future.
“This trial was about the right to breathe,” Matthews-Carter said. “While we will take this moment and be grateful, there are so many instances where this was not the case.”
Since Floyd’s death last May, Matthews-Carter and other Syracuse activists have been pressing for police accountability and reforms at the state and local levels in hopes of improving the dynamic between law enforcement and communities of color.
“We would like to see very specific training that relates to cultural competency,” Matthews-Carter said. “We want to see more police officers of color hired, to reflect more of the community — not only hired, but recruited, hired, retained and promoted.”
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh who laid out a police reform and reinvention plan last year that addresses reforming use-of-force policies, de-escalation, and accountability measures, responded to the Chauvin verdict on Twitter.