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Activists Hope Derek Chauvin Guilty Verdict Will Be Catalyst For Change

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - For activists fighting for racial justice, the guilty verdicts in the Derek Chauvin trial mark a small victory in the battle for police reform.

"There is the audacity of hope," said Sacramento NAACP President Betty Williams.

For some like Williams, a triple guilty signals the start of change.

"I think this is a huge step for criminal justice policies to move forward in every city in America," said Williams

Since the death of George Floyd, California passed two bills including banning officers from using the "sleeper" chokehold restraint and requiring the state's attorney general to investigate deadly police shootings.

"My hope is that it will give fear to those other rogue police officers that continue to terrorize our community and kill them and hurt them, that they know the system has changed in the favor of the people," she said.

In Sacramento, the city recently hired an inspector general to investigate use-of-force cases and formed a community response team to address mental health calls instead of police.

"There are too many George Floyd in our country and too many people and family have suffered and racism continues to be the most persistent virus in our society and we have a lot of work to overcome it," said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

Steinberg's strong words come as he looks to adopt some resolutions brought by the police commission starting in May, including use-of-force standards and stronger vetting for officers.

"This is the beginning of the quest of justice, not the end," he said.

Not all are optimistic. Tanya Faison, the founder of Sacramento's Black Lives Matter, noted more officer-involved shootings that have happened since George Floyd.

"It's still happening, it's happening aggressively, it's happening to our babies even. I'm not very optimistic when it comes to our system but I do hope it does indicate some kind of change," explained Faison.

Faison said the Sacramento BLM movement will continue to work on grassroots efforts and fight for systematic change.

On a federal level, the George Floyd Act currently in the senate's hands would ban chokeholds, no-knock warrants, and require law enforcement to wear body cameras. Advocates including the Sacramento's NAACP Would like to see similar measures passed locally to avoid relying on a federal decision.

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