There was a collective sigh of relief for some visitors to the museum this week regarding the guilty verdict of former Minneapolis police officer Chauvin.
“The outcome was justified in my opinion. Having prior history in law enforcement for over 26 years, I do believe he was a bad apple,” visitor Reuben Sanchez said.
Faith Morris, the chief marketing and external affairs officer at the Civil Rights Museum, said the guilty verdict is accompanied by a cautious asterisk. While she believes justice prevailed in the murder of George Floyd, she said the justice we need is bigger than the verdict.
“The justice piece of it should happen before you decide to shoot, and how about taking some of these black and brown people into custody so that they can plead their case and face their accusers,” she said.
As many were celebrating the verdict, Ohio police fatally shot 15-year-old Ma’khia Bryant after a call about a knife attack.
As for police reform, Morris says defunding policing isn’t needed, but rethinking policing is. She thinks Durham Police Chief CJ Davis, who is Mayor Strickland’s choice for the next police chief in Memphis, could help.
“She seems to be something this city needs, so that Memphis can be a model for policing and how we turn situations that we’re seeing every day,” Morris said.
Until then, Morris says the court verdict doesn’t end, but it should remind us ‘peaceful’ protests and the fight for equality and justice for people of color is far from over.
“We are absolutely for protests, but protest with a purpose, protests with a goal, strategic protests so that we can really come to some valid solutions. We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Morris said.