A jury has found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all the counts he faced over the death of George Floyd. The trial was closely watched by many all over the world including right here on the Monterey Bay. Pastor Ronald Britt has been part of Greater Victory Temple Church of God in Christ in Seaside for over 30 years. He also spent 23 years as a deputy sheriff for Santa Clara County Department of Corrections. KAZU News spoke with Pastor Britt shortly after the verdict was read on Tuesday.
With KAZU News I’m Michelle Loxton. Guilty on all counts — that was the decision the jury made in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin was convicted on all counts in the death of George Floyd. The trial was closely watched by many, including by Pastor Ronald Britt of Greater Victory Temple Church of God in Christ in Seaside. I spoke with the community leader and former deputy sheriff shortly after the verdict was announced Tuesday, to get his immediate reaction.
Pastor Ronald Britt: (RB): My reaction is that justice finally prevailed for the people of color, but I wanted to say, Michelle, I'm not rejoicing, celebrating in the sense because me being a man of God, the Bible tells us not to rejoice when your enemy fall or stumble. Mr. Chauvin will be put away for a while. Not only the loss of George Floyd, his family lost, but the Chauvin family have lost also.
Michelle Loxton (ML): So what do you believe that this means this verdict, does it mean change for you?
RB: I believe change is on the way. Because if you look back, many of those that have fallen are black brothers and sisters have not received justice. The officers were acquitted or not charged at all. I see this as a new birth, a change coming that people are now seeing that these things actually happen to the people of color. But it was pushed under the rug, but no longer can it be pushed under the rug.
ML: So could you share with me how you've been following the trial, if you have been following it, you know from a perspective of... you have a law enforcement background, but also as a perspective of… as a pastor?
RB: I've been following the trial from... from day one and knowing my background. I did not work the streets, but I worked in the jail. We have arrest techniques. We have use of force policies. We have classes every year. I saw this as excessive force on behalf of Mr. Chauvin as he was… had his knee on George Floyd’s neck. I did not hear one time, Michelle that his... when Mr. Chauvin had his hands in his pocket. He was in a relaxed mode, just putting his weight on the man, and no one even brought it up in trial. So I looked at the trial every day, I knew that he could be found guilty and should have been found guilty, but when you had the defense attorney putting George Floyd on trial, then talking about his drug use and his resistance, and it made it seem like there could have been one juror that would have said no, the officer was doing his job. But I watched all the way through and I am grateful that justice prevailed.
ML: How are you viewing the result in terms of racial justice going forward, what will you say on... to your community on Sunday as we look forward?
RB: What I would say to my community and those young men and women of color, first of all do what the officer asked you to do. Do not resist. I’d rather fight this in court than how to preach your funeral. Things have been recorded today, and if the officers are doing wrong, this is a new day for policing that you will... you will be brought to justice. And most likely you will be convicted. That's what I would be sharing with my community.
That was Pastor Ronald Britt of Great Victory Temple Church of God in Christ in Seaside, sharing his reaction to the guilty verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin over the death of George Floyd. I’m Michelle Loxton KAZU News.