Eden Prairie Local News (EPLN) reached out to a wide array of Eden Prairie residents for reactions to the guilty verdict of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s killing of George Floyd. Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter by a jury at 4:06 pm April 20 at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis.
Below are some of the comments EPLN received Tuesday evening:
Community members react
Bayle Gelle is an Eden Prairie resident and the father of Dolal Idid. Dolal Idid was shot and killed earlier this year by the Minneapolis police.
Gelle said the verdict was good, welcome news. “I’m very happy. In Minnesota and the United States, we need everybody to have justice. I hope other families who have lost loved ones in police shootings will get justice.”
Farrah Osman is the Executive Founder of Academy for Young Leaders and director of youth programs for Mothers Tutoring Academy in Eden Prairie and said she was very happy with the verdict.
“It was not right for him to kill [George Floyd],” she said, referring to Chauvin. “I thought they might let him go.”
It’s an important development, she added, because it likely averts the kind of post-verdict turmoil that had been feared.
“Eden Prairie residents should regard the verdict as important,” she added.
“What’s going on in Minneapolis is just 20 minutes away,” she said. “We’re connected. There’s no checkpoint.”
Babar Khan an engineer and Pakistani-American community leader said, “For the underrepresented communities in the United States it is a milestone in the history of justice and a wakeup call for police departments to ensure they need to have a swift self-accountability process to regain integrity and clean (from) their rows those who tarnish their image.”
Babar added “People should not have to come on the streets to get the right charges placed when injustice is done. I hope to see our legislators and police departments change from reacting on an incident basis to working on police reforms to address existing stereotypes of mindset, racism, improved accountability, training, and hiring processes to ensure law enforcement is transparent and fair for all.”
Asad Aliweyd, an Eden Prairie resident and President of New American Development Center, an economic development and advocacy group that works with the Somali community in Minnesota said “Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict in the death of George Floyd was a step towards justice.”
“I am pleased that the George Floyd family is happy, and we are delighted to see the result today. This judgment will heal damage, redress racial discrepancies, address gaps in our criminal justice system, and ultimately will lead to an overhaul and reconstruction of the police. This will be a lesson to law enforcement that they shouldn’t use excessive force in this type of situation. Now, it’s time to rebuild police/community relationships and to rebuild trust.”
Said Jill Scholtz: “I thought I would be more relieved. A part of me says of course Chauvin should be found guilty. People all over the globe saw the video and had a visceral reaction to what they witnessed. But the fear that he might not have been found guilty, the nervousness that was felt while waiting for the verdict, the fear that resulted in $9 million in emergency funding to cover law enforcement for Operation Safety Net, tells us that we know there was a possibility that justice would be denied…again! We have a problem that was not fixed by the verdict.
“I am white. And I believe it is vital for all of us white people to listen to and believe what voices of color have been telling us. The lives of our neighbors, relatives, friends, coworkers, elders and children are at stake. Our humanity is at stake.”
Scholtz said more work remains: “If you have not heard the voices of color speaking about experiences of racism in Eden Prairie, you are not listening. The stories are there. They happen on a regular basis, and it is hard to hear. So what do we do?
“The verdict was Step 1 in making changes for a more racially equitable environment. Many don’t know what to do or how to actually make change. It is often not about individual intent or being a nice person. I have been doing racial equity work for 20 years and I have made some mistakes and had some success. I have been sharing my learning by facilitating a discussion series called ‘The Ripple Effect.’ The series helps white individuals explore their racial identity. For many wondering ‘What do I say?’ ‘What can I do?’, the course provides resources and tools for participating in transformational change. I believe it is essential for white individuals to find clarity and confidence in how they can work towards racial equity.”
Editor’s note: Eden Prairie Local News (EPLN) writers Steve Schewe, Jim Bayer, Stuart Sudak, Ryan Williamson, Jeff Strate, and Mark Weber contributed to this article. The discussion series referenced by Scholtz continues this summer, and more information and registration can be found here.