JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - As people from around the nation comment on the guilty verdict handed down to Derek Chauvin Tuesday, Mississippians are reflecting on the impact in the state and what they hope still happens.
Chants of ‘black lives matter’ rang through downtown Jackson, just as they did in cities around the state and nation, in June of 2020. Executive Director of the ACLU of Mississippi Jarvis Dortch says those cries for change did have a more immediate impact.
“Lawmakers, Republicans and Democrats talked about what was going on, the conversation often went to this would be a great moment for us to show that Mississippi’s came along way and to show some racial healing by changing the state flag,” noted Dortch. “That moment, as unfortunate as it was, it did lead to some type of change here in Mississippi.”
Community activist Jarrius Adams is looking back to those protests through the lens of yesterday’s guilty verdict for Derek Chauvin.
“So many people have died while the trial has been going on,” explained Adams. “The root of the problem still has not been solved. We deal with things case by case. As one comes up, we try to deal with it. Get justice. Get justice. But true justice is fixing the system.”
Both Adams and Dortch agree that the work can’t stop with Chauvin’s guilty verdict.
“There are so many things,” said Adams. “You know, qualified immunity... we have to get rid of it. I think people when they know they’ll be personally held accountable for their actions, judgment is a little different.”
Dortch says he hopes reform discussions go beyond just policy and procedures but also look at what we want from police and whether there are other resources needed.
“Are we asking police to do too much? We’re asking them to be social workers, first responders, to protect us, to intervene, drug counselors, everything we’re putting on police officers and that’s a terrible position to put them in.”
To read more from Dortch, click HERE.