Local activists react to Derek Chauvin murder conviction

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A group of activists gathered on the steps of Wilmington City Hall Tuesday night to praise a jury’s decision to convict former police officer Derek Chauvin of murdering George Floyd last year.

At least a dozen or more people gathered at the downtown landmark, some saying they feel like they can breathe a sigh of relief.

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Last year following Floyd’s death, a group called the Lowercase Leaders demonstrated at Wilmington City Hall each day and night, calling for change.

On Tuesday, some of those same demonstrators gathered to mark the historic conviction.

Activist Rebecca Trammel says she believes those demonstrations here and around the country made a difference.

“So many people all over America and around the world said ‘no, this is not okay,'” Trammel said. “There are many Black people in America who were breathless last night, but I believe when the guilty verdict came down, many of us took a deep breath for the first time since last year.

Trammel says she believes the Wilmington Police Department is on the right track when it comes to accountability, but she does advocate for the creation of a citizens’ review board.

“This is a moment that I believe we will look back to in history and realize that there was accountability,” she said.

The Wilmington chapter of Black Lives Matter will be holding an event at City Hall on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the verdict and the next steps.