COLUMBIA — Race Matters Friends and CoMo for Progress, two local advocacy groups said the conviction of former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin is a step towards justice but more work needs to be.
Chauvin was convicted Tuesday of three felony charges, including second and third-degree murder for pinning George Floyd with his knee on Floyd's neck last May for nearly nine minutes.
Floyd's death sparked protests across the county and locally.
On Zoom Race Matters Friends President Traci Wilson-Kleekamp referred to the verdict as "painful hope".
"I got a lot of comments in the last couple of weeks expecting Derek Chauvin to not be convicted," Wilson said. "A lot of people just really not believing that the justice system would work."
Wilson said there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to address concerns in the criminal justice system.
"While it's an interruption in the criminal justice system, it doesn't fix it," Wilson said. "We are trying to figure out interventions"
She said Race Matters Friends have been calling for changes in the Columbia Police Department for years.
"This is 2021 and we are still having all of the very same conversations with no answer. If the response is well we haven't shot anybody that's unarmed, that's a low bar," Wilson said.
Another Columbia advocacy group CoMo for Progress said one guilty verdict is a step towards justice but doesn't undo other injustices individuals in the Black community have faced.
We're hopeful that the decision today is the beginning of change across our nation. One guilty verdict does not undo qualified immunity.
On guilty verdict does not right all the wrongs to the black community.
The Columbia Police Department and the University of Missouri’s Law School postponed a forum scheduled for Tuesday about relations with the community, the trial of Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, and the criminal process and policing.
Wilson said CPD's decision to postpone the discussion was appropriate.