Roanoke Valley locals react to Derek Chauvin sentence

Roanoke Valley News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — It was an emotional Friday afternoon for some residents in downtown Roanoke.

“His trial should have been a model figure,” said Ana Hernandez.

WFXR News spoke with several people about the sentence of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the George Floyd murder case on Friday, June 25.

“It caused death, and regardless of how we look at the situation, something needs to be done,” said Charles Bailey.

To Brenda Hale, President of the National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), disappointment rang out, but she wasn’t surprised.

Hale says she knew Chauvin was not going to be sentenced to 30 years, a proposal the prosecution was seeking.

“What is really disappointing about this, is that George Floyd lost his life. It was murder. What we consider modern-day lynching, seen by the whole world in real time,” said Hale.

She says Floyd’s family deserved better.

“The judge says he was not going to be moved by emotions. This would not be emotionally set. This would be done by guidelines,” said Hale.

Dr. Tod Burke, criminal justice expert and former police officer, believed the judge’s ruling was fair.

“The judge was not basing the sentencing on emotion or public opinion. He was basing it on the law,” said Burke.

He adds police reform is a national issue, and when it comes to relationships between officers and community members, the trust starts in the streets.

“I truly believe that the police really need to gain the trust and get into the accountability, their own accountability, and really listen to the community,” Burke said.

This also applies inside local police departments.

“To ask the questions of police candidates, and give them the scenarios that police officers often ask to see if it’s what the community wants,” said Burke.

The NAACP Roanoke Chapter is hoping to continue to improve relationships with police and community members — especially the youth.

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