Watch CBS News

What's Next For Changes In Policing After Derek Chauvin Verdict? Chicago Activists Say Work Is Far From Over

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Following the conviction of fired Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd, some said they were pleased – but believe justice requires more than Chauvin's individual accountability.

Last summer in Chicago and across the country, protesters took the streets in George Floyd's name.

"Now it feels that people are finally actually opening their ears to hear the chants and to hear the cries," said Kwyn Townsend-Riley of the Black Youth Project 100.

On Tuesday, those calls and cries were answered in the form of accountability - but that is far from justice says, Townsend-Riley told CBS 2's Charlie De Mar.

"Justice to me was never a guilty verdict," she said. "I want more justice than the system has to offer."

Despites the guilty verdict, Townsend-Riley is calling for fundamental changes to policing.

"We want to dismantle. We want to defund. We want to abolish," she said. "That means abolishing, getting rid of, reconstructing the entire system."

After the Minneapolis police chief testified against Chauvin - breaking the blue wall of silence - Pastor Marshall hatch of the New Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church in West Garfield Parks said he is hopeful that other officers will now have the courage to do the same.

"I think it's a good sign that a lot of the good police officers can come out of hiding now and stop hiding the bad ones," Hatch said. "It could be revolutionary for policing."

The Chicago Police Department is currently under a consent decree - a federal court order mandating police reform. The U.S. Department of Justice implemented the decree after an investigation following the murder of Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times by former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke in 2014.

In 2018, Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery – one for each time he shot McDonald. He is now serving a nearly seven-year sentence.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot continues to face pressure and criticism for not proposing and implementing her own set of policing reforms - a promise she set for her first 100 days in office.

Since Floyd's death and widespread protests, police departments across the country have started to implement reforms - but activists with whom De Mar spoke said the work is far from over.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.