SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Many say it was a sigh of relief as they heard the guilty verdict in the case of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin.
Savannah Mayor Van Johnson and several Savannah State University students told WTOC that this verdict doesn’t just mean justice, but it shows accountability.
“I would’ve been terrified had it gone the other way. I just felt the rumblings in the ground across the country. I think mayors across the country were just terrified at the thought of what would’ve happened,” said Mayor Johnson.
Savannah Mayor Van Johnson says the city was prepared for whatever came out of the courtroom Tuesday in Minneapolis. After various demonstrations in the city over the year, the mayor says this verdict means relief.
“I don’t see it as a cause for celebration. I think that what you see is people relieved that the justice system worked in their eyes.”
In response to George Floyd’s death, Mayor Johnson says the city and its police force have gone through various changes to improve how the community is served and protected.
“From that time we created the Savannah CARES Task Force. Citizens, accountability and review of emergency services. 12 recommendations have been issued after dozens of meetings and hours of citizen-driven meetings and gathering input.”
Chauvin was found guilty of all three charges. Second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
“Just seeing that, for once, we can get the verdict we deserve it was just very nice” said Savannah State University student Crystal Smith.
Savannah State University students Anaya Smith, Crystal Smith and Mikis Mays all say as young people, it’s their responsibility to pave the way to change.
“The motto that I like to use is, ‘be the change you want to see in the world.’ I feel like if you want change to happen, whether you’re on the streets or you’re writing to your congressmen and women,” said Anaya Smith.
“Judging off of character and morals instead of skin color. I believe that as young people, if we focus on these things, on not just the color of our skin but on how the other person treats us then we can move way way further as a society,” said Mikis Mays.