BLM-LA & ANSWER Coalition respond to Chauvin verdict

The+ANSWER+Coalition+holds+a+protest+in+Pershing+Square+on+April+21%2C+2021.+They+call+for+police+accountability+in+the+wake+of+Derek+Chauvin%27s+conviction+for+the+murder+of+George+Floyd.+Photo+credit%3A+Vincent+Medina

Vincent N. Medina

The ANSWER Coalition holds a protest in Pershing Square on April 21, 2021. They call for police accountability in the wake of Derek Chauvin’s conviction for the murder of George Floyd. Photo credit: Vincent Medina

Vincent Medina, Community Editor

Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of Geroge Floyd on April 20. The 12-person jury charged the former Minneapolis police officer with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

The charges against Chauvin collectively amount to 75 years in prison.

Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles and the Answer Coalition-Los Angeles feels that the verdict is a step toward equal justice. However, they remind the public that there is still more reform that needs to happen and encourage their followers to continue advocating for police accountability.

Supporter of Black Lives Matter raises their fists in solidarity as the demonstration ends on April 21, 2021. They call for an end to police associations and for the LA Police Protective League to be removed from the house of labor. (Vincent N. Medina)

“Chauvin would not have been found guilty if it wasn’t for us,” said BLM-LA co-founder Dr. Melina Abdula to a crowd of demonstrators outside the LA Police Protective League on April 21.

“As we breathe a sigh of relief in the name of George Floyd, remember that we are not done. Yesterday was an affirmation that the work we are doing is important and that we can win. We can topple the goliath.”

Families of police brutality victims echoed the message of continuing to push for more police accountability. They reminded people that the verdict is a small victory, and there is still more work to do for equality under the law.

“When I heard the verdict, I felt numb because I was expecting the worst,” said BLM-LA organizer Tabitha Jones Jolivet. “A single conviction is not justice. Justice would be if George Floyd was still alive.”

A young girl raises her fist in solidarity with Black Lives Matter during a protest on April 21, 2021. BLM advocated for the abolishment of the LAPD. (Vincent N. Medina)

BLM-LA continues to advocate for abolishing the LAPD and removing the LA PPL from the house of labor. They want to redistribute police funds to community programs such as education and health care.

The ANSWER Coalition held a protest in Pershing Square that same day where they called on the public to continue advocating for equal justice and police accountability.

“The verdict for Chauvin is not the end,” said Coalition member Carolina Vega. “It takes abolishing the police and changing the power structure to stop those Black deaths. It takes systemic change.”

“The guilty verdict yesterday was a great victory, and we need to fight to end police terror,” said Coalition member Kevin Hurt. “We can’t bring Floyd back, but we can continue to bring people together. We can one day have a world where Black people will not fear dying at the hands of police.”

While the Coalition called for change, they made statements that critics considered controversial, in regards to the violent protests and riots in 2020 after Floyd was murdered.

The ANSWER Coalition protested in Pershing Square on April 21, 2021. They call for Police Accountability after Derek Chauvin was convicted for the murder of George Floyd. (Vincent N. Medina)

“They would not have found Chauvin guilty if we hadn’t gone out to the streets,” said Vega to the crowd of demonstrators.

“They knew that if he wasn’t found guilty, Minneapolis would have been set on fire. That’s why they boarded-up businesses and deployed the National Guard. They are terrified of the people, and they should be,” Vega said.

Vega said she sympathized with the rioters who feel the need to use violence.

“We always support non-violent protests if it can be done. When the violence of the police is greater it requires change by any means necessary,” Vega said. “Is it a conversation worth having when the property damage is valued more over Black lives?”

The ANSWER Coalition calls for more police accountability after Derek Chauvin is convicted for the murder of George Floyd. They protested in Pershing Square on April 21, 2021. (Vincent N. Medina)

Vega later stated that the Coalition always encourages non-violence.

Hurt also defended the rioters.

“We believe the way people respond is always a response to the torture they go through,” Hurt said. “[The police] can’t give violence and expect non-violent responses.”

Hurt also said that the ANSWER Coalition has never held a violent protest and their goal is never violence when protesting.