Northland community reacts to Derek Chauvin guilty verdict

Ryan Juntti
Updated: April 20, 2021 10:32 PM
Created: April 20, 2021 09:35 PM

It didn't take long after former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of all charges for people to take to the streets in Duluth.

Right at the heart of the action was a place that has seen its fair share of protests, and marches in response to racial injustice - the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial.

Flowers and candles were placed at the base of the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial as part of a vigil Tuesday evening, which wrapped up a busy afternoon there.

"Kind of felt drawn to it," said Patrick O'Connell of Duluth. "What a better place to be right now to understand the levity of the situation as three people that lost their lives because of an injustice by a community," he added.

After marching to Canal Park and back, a group of about 40 to 50 people knelt in a circular formation for nine and a half minutes, symbolizing what now convicted former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin did to George Floyd when he pressed his knee against his neck.

The guilty verdict is one that a lot of people are just beginning to process.

"Not what I thought," O'Connell said when asked what his reaction to the verdict was.

"I'd say my reaction initially was pure shock," said Veronica Davis of Duluth. "Along with my shock, I'll say I had a lot of relief, like a deep sigh of relief that it kind of felt like we finally accomplished something, and that just feels good. It feels refreshing," Davis added.

People WDIO News spoke with say the hope is this signals a change moving forward.

"Regardless of what side of the issue you fall on, you're hoping that justice was served, and that calmer heads will prevail and that people will be better off, or society will be better off, and I hope that's the case," said O'Connell.

"I would say maybe this will be an eye-opener at the very least," said Davis.       


Ryan Juntti

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