While Asheville police were preparing for marches following the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, downtown was mostly quiet Tuesday night.
Suzanne Hall was one of the few in Pack Square following the announcement of the guilty verdict. I was here at the very beginning when it happened, and if you’re going to protest the bad, you should celebrate the good," Hall said. "And I’m very heartened by this verdict.”
Rob Thomas is the community liaison for Asheville’s Racial Justice Coalition. He acknowledges that the verdict is a small step toward change. “This is not necessarily justice, it’s more or less accountability," Thomas said. "The true justice would be if George Floyd was still alive and able to interact with his family. True justice would mean guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice denied to George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin and so many other names.”
Thomas adds he hopes this case will bring more awareness and lay the groundwork to start making real policy change both in Asheville and across the country. “This is definitely not the end of it, but hopefully we can start making some necessary changes to prevent it from perpetuating.”
Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller issued a statement on the verdict, saying that “law enforcement cannot and should not condone abuse of authority within its ranks.” Miller went on to say when an officer violates the law, they should be held accountable by their profession and the criminal justice system.