Groups Rally in Las Vegas After Chauvin Guilty Verdict
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
LAS VEGAS - Groups working for racial justice held a rally Tuesday night on the Las Vegas strip - a celebration and expression of relief that a Minnesota jury convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin of murder in the death of George Floyd. Chauvin was accused of kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes.
While the verdict represents progress, said Desiree Smith, spokesperson for the group More Than a Hashtag Las Vegas, people should continue to grieve over the Floyd family's loss.
"Justice was served, but he's gone forever," she said, "so we just have to remember that we are actually fighting for people who were alive. George Floyd changed the world. His death disrupted white supremacy across the nation."
Nevada has been roiled by controversy over police tactics in recent years. Just last week, Clark County held a public fact-finding review of the case of Jorge Gomez, who was shot and killed by Las Vegas police after allegedly pointing a gun. This Friday, the state Assembly's Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on a series of police reforms contained in Senate Bill 212.
Wesley Juhl, director of communications and outreach for the ACLU of Nevada, said much more needs to be done to prioritize racial justice.
"We have to prohibit police mistreatment of communities of color," he said. "We have to divert funding from traditional policing towards community-based services, like crisis teams. We have to remove police from low-level offenses and things like traffic infractions."
Last year, Nevada lawmakers passed Assembly Bill 3, which banned the use of police chokeholds. In Minnesota, Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison, just on the most serious charge of second-degree murder.
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