‘We Matter’: Derek Chauvin Verdict Brings Collective Relief

For some Americans who had closely followed the trial, the verdict was surprising — different, they said, from what they had come to expect in cases involving the police. Juan Carmona, the head of the social studies department at Donna High School in Donna, Texas, a town of 16,000 on the border with Mexico, said he had been listening to the trial on the radio. For him, a defining moment had come when the Minneapolis police chief testified for the prosecution, stating clearly that Mr. Chauvin’s actions went against the department’s training. “That blue wall of silence may be finally cracking,” Mr. Carmona said. “Police officers are like anybody else, and they’re seeing what’s happening in the country.” In South Los Angeles, a celebration of the verdict broke out at the intersection of Florence and Normandie, a corner that erupted in fire and rage in 1992, after a jury acquitted four white police officers in the beating of Rodney King. It was at that corner that Reginald Denny, a white truck driver, was pulled from his vehicle and beaten amid the Los Angeles riots. On Tuesday, the location had the feel of a mini-block party: Cars honked their horns and activists waved handwritten signs reading, “Guilty.” A few dozen Black, white and Hispanic men and women waved Black Lives Matter flags and placards as music blared from portable speakers. As a fire truck passed through the intersection, its driver looked at an activist on the corner and blew her a kiss, prompting a cheer. “It’s a celebration of the life of George Floyd, it’s a celebration of the verdict and it’s a celebration to understand that the system has finally held accountable people who have been so protected for so long,” said Daymond Johnson, 40, a longtime community activist who is African-American and who stood at the corner holding a megaphone. Shaila Dewan reported from Minneapolis, and Julie Bosman from Chicago. Reporting was contributed by Mike Baker from Portland, Ore., Campbell Robertson from Pittsburgh, Richard Fausset from Atlanta, Patricia Mazzei from Miami, Simon Romero from Albuquerque, Robert Chiarito from Chicago, Sarah Maslin Nir and Anushka Patil from New York, Manny Fernandez from Los Angeles, Shawn Hubler from Sacramento, and Edgar Sandoval from San Antonio.

‘We Matter’: Derek Chauvin Verdict Brings Collective Relief
For some Americans who had closely followed the trial, the verdict was surprising — different, they said, from what they had come to expect in cases involving the police. Juan Carmona, the head of the social studies department at Donna High School in Donna, Texas, a town of 16,000 on the border with Mexico, said he had been listening to the trial on the radio. For him, a defining moment had come when the Minneapolis police chief testified for the prosecution, stating clearly that Mr. Chauvin’s actions went against the department’s training. “That blue wall of silence may be finally cracking,” Mr. Carmona said. “Police officers are like anybody else, and they’re seeing what’s happening in the country.” In South Los Angeles, a celebration of the verdict broke out at the intersection of Florence and Normandie, a corner that erupted in fire and rage in 1992, after a jury acquitted four white police officers in the beating of Rodney King. It was at that corner that Reginald Denny, a white truck driver, was pulled from his vehicle and beaten amid the Los Angeles riots. On Tuesday, the location had the feel of a mini-block party: Cars honked their horns and activists waved handwritten signs reading, “Guilty.” A few dozen Black, white and Hispanic men and women waved Black Lives Matter flags and placards as music blared from portable speakers. As a fire truck passed through the intersection, its driver looked at an activist on the corner and blew her a kiss, prompting a cheer. “It’s a celebration of the life of George Floyd, it’s a celebration of the verdict and it’s a celebration to understand that the system has finally held accountable people who have been so protected for so long,” said Daymond Johnson, 40, a longtime community activist who is African-American and who stood at the corner holding a megaphone. Shaila Dewan reported from Minneapolis, and Julie Bosman from Chicago. Reporting was contributed by Mike Baker from Portland, Ore., Campbell Robertson from Pittsburgh, Richard Fausset from Atlanta, Patricia Mazzei from Miami, Simon Romero from Albuquerque, Robert Chiarito from Chicago, Sarah Maslin Nir and Anushka Patil from New York, Manny Fernandez from Los Angeles, Shawn Hubler from Sacramento, and Edgar Sandoval from San Antonio.