SEATTLE - Several people in Seattle voiced their support of a jury verdict convicting former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on all charges in the death of George Floyd. A jury reached the decision, Tuesday, in the weeks-long trial in Minneapolis.
Hellbent Brewing Company hosted a live viewing session of the hearing so customers could have a safe space to watch. Craft beer was the drink of choice as customers listened to a judge read the ruling.
"Absolutely guilty. 1,000 percent guilty," said customer Amy Angell.
"I’m not surprised at all. This case had so much media attention. Unfortunately, that’s what it took to actually get a guilty charge," said David Angell while viewing the verdict.
"It was clear from the get to that he was guilty," said Jacki Leonard, visiting from Denver.
The jury’s decision left some people with many feelings.
"It was emotional in the sense that it provided some sense of relief for someone who watched a Black man get killed," said customer Chris D’Abreau. "It’s what accountability looks like. It felt like what had to happen when you watch the video of him taking George Floyd’s life."
As they watched a judge read the ruling, viewers said they hope it is a step towards positive change.
"I think there are a lot of people who have been left out all the decision-making that’s taken place and it’s time for their concerns to be heard," said Jack Guinn, Hellbent Brewing Company co-owner.
Concerns people have expressed since before the death of Floyd don’t end with this conviction. Many people said they hope this moment sets the groundwork for police reform and racial justice everywhere.
"I hope and expect to see action. I feel like so many people are just tired of seeing people talk about change and not actually be about change," said D’Abreau.
"We just need to hold them more accountable and there needs to be more training, there needs to be more awareness, there needs to be higher levels of expectations for the police force," said Leonard.
Some people at the brewery said they watched every minute of the trial since opening arguments started on March 29. They said they plan to tune into Chauvin’s sentencing scheduled for late June.
A collective moment of silence was held Tuesday night at the Jimi Hendrix Park to honor George Floyd. Many gathered at the park to pay their respects to lives lost as some say more work is needed to be done following Chauvin's trial.
"I had such a sigh of relief. But there's so much more stuff that needs to happen," said Jae Ago, who attended the park Tuesday night.
"It was bittersweet because this shouldn't have been the first guilty verdict. There's many, many other examples of the same situation with the same evidence. I don't know what the change was, but it should have happened for a lot of people," said Jaime Sabe, another attendee.
After the verdict was announced in the trial of Derek Chauvin, there were some cheers heard in the area once known as "CHOP," which stood for "Capitol Hill Occupied Protest."
Angel Boehm was among those who were emotional following the verdict.
"This is just a day of justice. We’ve been waiting for this for so long. I was literally glued to the trial for three weeks," said Boehm. "We needed this. We needed this win. I feel like I’ve suffered a lot of injustices. I have two mixed-raced children that are being raised up in this world so this is something to show them, yes, you can fight. You do not have to accept this injustice ever."
Boehm said she protested Floyd’s death last year in Capitol Hill, and she wanted to watch the verdict unfold in the neighborhood.
Last summer, businesses were boarded up after enduring months of protests and riots.
At one point, the clashes between people on the streets and the police became a nightly event.
"It definitely kept a lot of people away from the area," Takanori Kurachi, owner of U-DON restaurants which was in the occupied zone. "It was a precarious time. Definitely took some time before it really calmed down. Overall things are much better now. Glad to see nothing is really kicking up again."
Kurachi said businesses in the neighborhood, including his, have kept their guards up on the chance Seattle sees unrest in the streets again.
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