Ball State students react to the Derek Chauvin verdict and discuss further necessary actions

MUNCIE, Ind. (NewsLink) -- Tuesday, at around 5 p.m. EST, jurors for the Derek Chauvin trial reconvened and released their verdict, ruling Chauvin as guilty on all three counts.

The verdict sparked reactions in Minneapolis, as Chauvin walked out of the room in handcuffs. But the reaction did not stop in Minnesota. Students on Ball State’s campus also felt the effects of the verdict.

"When I saw it my heart dropped because I wasn't sure if it was going to say guilty or not guilty,” said junior Jericho Barr-Redmond. 

“I believe justice was served today when the jury found him guilty of all charges,” said Destin Mitchell, president of the Black Student Association.

With the verdict decided, the question now is how can society and the justice system improve? Mitchell said the verdict was the first step in improving relations between the African American community and the justice system.

"It'll show that officers are not above the law and that there is some accountability there.. I feel like it will help, I'm not going to say it will completely fix the mistrust that the African-American community has in the police and in the government, but I think it will definitely aid in that," said Mitchell.

While Mitchell said this is a step, she and other students know there are several changes that need to be made to rebuild that trust. 

“I believe there needs to be a bigger focus on community policing... There's so much money that gets put into these police departments, so much that we hear goes into their training that they are equipped to deal with but it seems whenever it comes to a black person and many times an unarmed black person, they fear for their life… There needs to be more accountability. There needs to be changes made as far as training and what they're equipping the officers with when they are going into these specific neighborhoods,” said Mitchell.

"Starting on whether you know it's training on every facet of authority, whether that's, you know, policing or everyday jobs and also just thinking equity and not just equality," Barr-Redmond said.

Chauvin’s sentencing for his guilty verdicts is set to start in approximately eight weeks.

For any comments or concerns, contact the author at emharless@bsu.edu.

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