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Alabama NAACP president, local activists react to Derek Chauvin verdict

Updated: Apr. 20, 2021 at 10:55 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd is bringing out strong reactions nationwide, and right here in the Tennessee Valley.

It took around 10 hours of deliberation to reach a guilty verdict.

”If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t think he would get convicted,” Remus Bowden, a community activist said.

“When you start treating a person less like a human being, treating them like a dog or something like that, that’s when you cross a line. They heard and saw the same thing. He murdered George Floyd,” NAACP President for Alabama, Benard Simelton said.

Simelton says there’s still a lot of work to be done to improve the relationship between police and the community.

“I’m hoping those police officers will reach out to community organizations like NAACP, SCLC, and other community organizations that are out there trying to ensure justice and equality for all,” he explained.

Activist Remus Bowden says he believes the real change will come when people view it as a systemic problem.

“I think the sooner we are able to come to grips with the fact that this is a systemic problem. I think someone said it best, unfortunately until this starts helping to all demographics of people, people aren’t going to really care that this is happening,” Bowden said.

Minister Frederick Whitlow II with the nonprofit No More Dirty Inc. says the nation’s outrage over Floyd’s death helped lead to the accountability we see today.

“People make a difference. Protesting makes a difference. The power of prayer and faith and how everyone came together. So I was very hopeful, very grateful, and super glad it did happen,” Whitlow said.

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