Chauvin guilty verdict gives hope to local group calling for police reform

By Max Lewis, WSBT 22 (CBS, South Bend)
April 21, 2021

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“We the jury in the above entitled manner as to count three, second degree manslaughter, culpable negligence, creating an unreasonable risk, find the defendant guilty.”

Guilty of all three charges. That verdict was handed down to former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin last night in the death of George Floyd. Since that landmark decision, there has been a renewed spark for police reform across the U.S.

The guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial is being hailed as a monumental moment nationwide. Police reform activists see it as a possible beginning to real change.

“As a black person in America, we’ve seen so many trials like the Chauvin one where justice was not served and this is a historic moment for our country,” said Pastor Claval Hunter.

South Bend Pastor Claval Hunter is a member of Faith In Indiana, which has long pushed for police reform. They’ve been one of the loudest voices arguing for changes to the South Bend Police Department’s use of force policy.

“As a nation, we need to do everything possible to create policies that save lives and prevent police killing from happening in the first place,” said Hunter.

Faith in Indiana has repeatedly called on the city to institute the highest threshold possible for when deadly force is allowed. New changes were submitted at a board of public safety meeting this morning by Mayor James Mueller.

Pastor Hunter believes the Chauvin decision will bring everyone back to the drawing board to find out how officers can be better trained.

“Training is important and also, you know, I think it’s important that we call for a federal investigation into the broader problems of police abuse and systemic racism that led to this case in Minneapolis.”
Some members of the community, including councilman Henry Davis Jr. and Black Lives Matter South Bend, say the proper training hasn’t happened yet. We reached out to South Bend’s FOP chapter multiple times, but did not hear back.

Pastor Hunter says the work is not over and really just getting started. However, he says yesterday’s verdict has given him hope that change can happen not only in South Bend but everywhere.

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