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Mixed local law enforcement reactions to the Derek Chauvin verdict

Published: Apr. 20, 2021 at 11:40 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 21, 2021 at 10:50 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - People are still gathering tonight in Minneapolis at the intersection where George Floyd lost his life. Today a jury decided he was murdered by a police officer.

Derek Chauvin was found guilty of all three of the charges he faced today. He was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Reactions to the verdict are split between the law enforcement community here at home.

The events of the summer of 2020 led us here.

Derek Chauvin prison booking photo
Derek Chauvin prison booking photo(WRDW)

“It’s going to be talked about for decades to come,” said Alfonzo Williams, Burke County Sheriff. “It’s set us back in law enforcement for decades. It’s set this country back several decades.”

He does not stand with Derek Chauvin. But former Police Chief Freddie Sanders sees something different when he watches this video.

“All he did was contain that man, he didn’t put his knee down at a pressure to choke him. He was containing that man until the medics got there,” said Freddie Sanders, former Law Enforcement Defense Attorney.

Sanders says Chauvin was doing his job.

“It’s not what the experts say, ‘yes he used excessive force,’ that’s not the standard. It’s what the objective, reasonable person would do in that circumstance,” said Sanders.

But Sheriff Williams says what happened to George Floyd goes against everything he’d expect of his own deputies.

“When the struggle stops, the force stops. And we did not find that in this case. Even after Floyd stopped struggling, Chauvin continued to have him pinned to the ground with his knee on his neck. That’s not consistent with any training that we give,” said Williams.

From the protests to the courtroom debate, and the irreversible death of George Floyd.

“None of its good, none of it should be celebrated for anybody,” said Williams.

And this verdict is still not the end of what happened on May 25, 2020. Sheriff Williams says that the Chauvin case will be used for training by his department and likely many more nationwide. He says it could be something departments can learn from to train future officers and deputies.

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