Utah community Reacts To Derek Chauvin Murder Conviction
Apr 20, 2021, 11:21 PM | Updated: Feb 7, 2023, 4:12 pm
SALT LAKE CITY – Three hours after a judge announced a guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin Tuesday, demonstrators rallied outside of the public safety building in downtown Salt Lake City to celebrate and continue to call for justice for others.
“Make some noise for George!” Rae Duckworth yelled over a megaphone to a growing crowd. “All three counts!”
Duckworth has seen her share of protests. She is the vice president of the Utah Chapter of Black Lives Matter. And on Tuesday she said she “had anxiety all day.” The celebration for a former officer’s conviction stood in contrast to months of protests over the last year and countless calls for justice.
“Just the fact that it came out the way it’s supposed to, I’m going to be able to take that deep breath tonight. And that’s relieving for me and my community right now,” Duckworth said.
Another look at the scene at the murals in downtown Salt Lake. pic.twitter.com/pM60w9FlXt
— Matt Rascon KSL (@MattRasconKSL) April 21, 2021
At the start of the rally, Lex Scott, the president of BLM Utah described the scene as eerie, saying “It’s surreal because we’ve never gathered here to celebrate anything.” She believed the night would be a “healing night.”
Still, amid the feelings of relief and gratitude for justice in this case, there was still mourning and a call to continue the fight.
“We shouldn’t have to celebrate a murderer being convicted of murder,” Scott said. “It should be that rare for a police officer who murdered someone to be convicted of murder.”
As significant as they see the jury’s decision, Scott acknowledged “the whole movement can’t be based on the results of one case. We have to keep fighting.”
“It’s not over because, you know, yeah he was convicted of the crime he committed and that’s what we need but that doesn’t do anything for Breonna Taylor,” Duckworth said.
After several speakers outside the Salt Lake Police Department, demonstrators marched about a mile and a half away to the mural of George Floyd, where they planted flags and built up a memorial. The focus remained on George Floyd and his family throughout but also what the decision could mean for the movement seeking justice and changes in policing.
“We’re facing the right direction and that means we can save a life. That can save my daughter. That can save my brother and I’m thankful for that,” Duckworth said.