Watch CBS News

Activists Say Derek Chauvin's Conviction Shows What Police Accountability Can Look Like, Call For Legislation To Enact Systemic Change

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Many say police accountability was also on trial in Minneapolis.

The conviction of Derek Chauvin showed what it could look like and has both law enforcement and activists agreeing more needs to be done.

If George Floyd's murder became the rallying cry for police reform, then Chauvin's conviction is widely believed to be the example of accountability.

CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas spoke to Dr. Hans Menos, with the Center for Policing Equity.

"If an officer is waking up today, putting on their uniform, how do you think they should feel?" Cline-Thomas asked.

"If a police officer is really paying attention to what's happening, then they will want to join that call for just, equitable policing. Because no one wants to go to work every day and not be the face of justice," Menos said.

So far, reform in our area includes releasing police disciplinary records to changing hiring and training practices.

Policing expert Paul Smith, of John Jay College, says that's a start.

"Acknowledge the harm that has been done, apologize for that harm, hear how it has impacted communities and then ask those communities how can we work together to develop policies," he said.

With policies and practices varying from department to department, activists say real systemic change can only come through legislation.

"The Blue Wall Bill destroys the blue wall of silence," said Chivona Newsome, with Black Lives Matter of Greater New York.

Black Lives Matter of Greater New York is pushing what it dubbed the Blue Wall Bill that would criminalize officers who file false reports and those who don't report illegal activity within the department.

"You're giving these so-called good cops protection, so they can say, 'Hey, I have to turn you in because if I don't, I lose my pension, I lose my home, I lose my career, I lose my freedom,'" said Hawk Newsome, with Black Lives Matter of Greater New York.

After all, breaking that code of silence in the Chauvin case is being applauded by law enforcement.

"You had the police chief testifying ... People spoke up on this and said what was right, so I'm heartened by that," NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said.

While opinions vary on the next steps, activists and law enforcement say the conversation is just beginning.

Watch Aundrea Cline-Thomas' report --

At a rally in Times Square on Wednesday, some feel the change is in the criminal system, a system they believe has abused people of color for decades.

"Misdemeanors don't kill ... I don't think the police should take care of that," Desmone Marrero told CBS2's Cory James. "Why? Because there's no need for them. No one is bleeding. No one is hurt ... Marijuana, misdemeanors, drinking, stuff like that, a lot of the time, that's what these brothers and sisters are getting killed over."

Floyd's family attorney Ben Crump addressed the issue at hand on a Zoom call with activists, including the nonprofit Brave New Films.

"It's the whole system. It's not just the police," Crump said. "So we got to make sure people in our community are engaged and educated and empowered to protest the prison industrial complex, the school-to-prison pipeline, the police brutality and this legalized genocide that happens to our community."

It's a community that may have experienced some relief this week.

"The moment I hear 'guilty, guilty and guilty,' I was excited. I was happy because African-American people, we feel that we never get justice," said Philonise Floyd, George Floyd's brother.

That justice brought Darnella Frazier, the now-18-year-old who recorded the video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck, to tears, according to her Facebook post.

But Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, hopes no other family will have to wait to receive it.

In an interview with CBS This Morning, it is clear that she also believes for that to happen, the system needs to be fixed.

"It happened with me. It happened with others that we never will know about. It happened with George Floyd. When will it end?" she said.

Minnesota's governor, Tim Walz, feels the awareness for criminal justice reform should involve everyone.

"It's not Black people who don't see this. It's white people who need to see it, and so I need to bring that in," he said.

A bill that will ban the use of chokeholds like the one that ended George Floyd's life has been approved by the House. It's awaiting a vote in the Senate.

CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas contributed to this report

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.