Derek Chauvin found guilty, San Diego streets alive with marchers

Two+groups+marched+through+Downtown+Tuesday+evening.+

Brenden Tuccinardi

Two groups marched through Downtown Tuesday evening.

The streets of San Diego were filled with music, honking, and the noise of celebration today. The nation breathed a collective sigh of relief. 

On April 20, former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin was found guilty of all three charges in the murder of George Floyd. 

Chauvin was charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, all of which he pled not guilty. 

This verdict comes almost a year after George Floyd’s murder on May 25. 

The specifics of Chauvin’s sentence will be decided in the following weeks. He faces up to 40 years in prison for the most severe charge which is second-degree murder.

California State University Chancellor Joseph Castro released a statement shortly after the verdict was announced. 

“As your chancellor, I want every African American student, faculty, staff, alumnus and family member to know that I stand alongside you today and every day,” Castro wrote. 

“Like so many others, I am relieved that the jury found Mr. Chauvin guilty on all counts, and I hope this action will provide George Floyd’s family with some solace – a measure of relief that justice has been served in this tragic case,” Castro said. 

San Diego State sent an email expressing the university’s solidarity and support of the verdict. 

“We must work through love, and we need always to come together through kindness,” the email said. “We are working against centuries of deeply-seated systemic racism.”

The email continued and listed events in the upcoming weeks that will be put on by various SDSU clubs and organizations. 

President Adela de la Torre tweeted, “I am pleased that a verdict has been rendered in the Chauvin trial today. This is just the beginning of overdue justice. Now is our time, and it has long been our time, to strengthen our bridges and move forward, together, to create a better and more equitable society.”

Marchers walked from 800 B Street to Waterfront Park and back, chanting George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s names. (Brenden Tuccinardi)

On Tuesday evening, two groups marched through Downtown celebrating the verdict. However, organizers and marchers said their work is far from over. 

“As we March throughout these streets it’s okay to be happy,” an organizer from Unity Runners told marchers before they started out on the route. “For me as a black woman, it (the verdict) was bittersweet.”

The group walked from 800 B Street to Waterfront Park and back. Along the way, a second group organized by We Stand United SD joined, eventually splitting off and heading back to the San Diego County Administration building, dispersing at 9 p.m.

These were the second day of protests in San Diego in the same week. 

On Saturday, April 17 a group of approximately 200 protesters gathered in Downtown San Diego to show their support for the family of Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo and the Black Lives Matter movement.

The protest was organized by Black women and although the movement supports BLM they announced they were not associated with BLM San Diego.

Daunte Wright was a 20-year-old black man who was pulled over in Brooklyn Center on April 11. Officers pulled him and his girlfriend over for driving with expired tags authorities said. When Wright refused to get out of his car Officer Kimberly Ann Potter pulled out her gun, yelled “taser, taser, taser,” but then proceeded to fire her gun. The shot killed Daunte Wright. His girlfriend was in the passenger seat and his mother was on the phone with him.

Details about the warrant for his arrest have not been released.

Protests took place across the country on April 17 in the cities of Chicago, Denver and Portland. 

Most notably a protest of thousands took place in Minnesota to demand justice for 13-year-old Adam Toledo who was shot and killed by a Minnesota police officer on March 29. The officer was responding to a shots fired alert when he chased Toledo on foot. Toledo is seen walking with Ruben Roman who is believed to have fired the shot that alerted the police. Toledo can be seen dropping a pistol and putting his hands in the air as directed by Officer Eric Stillman in the seconds before his death, body camera footage shows.

Despite today’s long-awaited justice, the movement is far from over, marchers said. 

“As we March through these streets please remember the lives of those taken by the police that did not receive justice. There are so many names,” a marcher said.  “Also, think of all the names that will be on this list.”

Karina Bazarte contributed reporting.

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