San Jose holds vigil, celebration for Derek Chauvin conviction
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Two events were held in San Jose after the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial came down. Both events remembered not just George Floyd’s life but other lives lost within the community at the hands of police officers.
At the steps of Grace Baptist Church in San Jose, close to 100 people were at a vigil for George Floyd following Chauvin’s conviction.
"With this victory today in Minneapolis, in Minnesota, we want the same victories for victims of police brutality all over the country," said Lou Dimes of Black Outreach.
Raj Jayadev of Silicon Valley DeBug said the verdict was a direct result of a social movement to hold police accountable.
"The real action happened outside of the courtroom and in these streets," said Jayadev.
Earlier, there was a lighter mood at San Jose City Hall. San Jose’s NAACP president told the crowd to let go of tension from the past year. The activist sang and danced on stage.
"We’ve been struck down by the police violence and so today we want to have time to reflect and enjoy but also memorialize those who still lost their lives," said Rev. Jethroe Moore, president of San Jose/Silicon Valley NAACP.
Families remembered loved ones who died from police shootings like Jim Showman of San Jose who lost his 19-year-old daughter Diana in 2014 who was mentally-ill.
"They came and solved her problem with an AR-15 from less than 15 feet," said Showman.
The pain fresh as they continue the fight for justice for all.
"I think a lot of Americans are finally feeling a sense that they can take the breath that George Floyd was deprived of," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.
Liccardo said the community’s demands for change in policing are clear.
"We’ve got a new chief in place. He’s going to begin an outreach process with the community to reimagine how we do public safety in our city," said Liccardo. "We’ve already started on the reforms. We are negotiating with our police union."
Among the reforms include using mental health professionals to respond to certain calls for service not police. The mayor is also proposing investigations of police misconduct happen outside the department.
Community activists call Tuesday’s verdict a moment of hope but bittersweet because other families didn’t get the same level of advocacy and support.
Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU. Email Azenith at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or ktvu.com.