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Kansas City metro social justice activists see victory in Derek Chauvin guilty verdict

Nicole Price.JPG
Posted at 9:32 PM, Apr 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-20 23:27:18-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As Dr. Nicole Price watched the verdict in former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's murder trial live on her iPhone, she felt a sense of relief wash over her.

"I just wasn’t sure that you could find 12 people in our divided nation who would agree, even on something as visible, as egregious and for me in my humble opinion as obvious as this," said Price, who works to raise awareness about systemic racism and the Black community around the metro.

The jury found Chauvin guilty of first- and second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd.

Price said she couldn't help but feel anxious leading up to the verdict. Had the decision gone differently, Price worried the Black community would lose all hope.

"People without hope are dangerous people," Price said, "and I was really concerned that what I perceived to be the right decision was not going to be made, and then people that were hopeless were going to take to the streets in anger – justified anger."

Price said she believes the jury reached a guilty verdict because the trial focused on one officer rather than the policing system as a whole.

There is much more work that needs to be done with the system, according to Price.

"The issue is not individual police officers in and of itself, it is implicit bias and associations," she said. "What is it about policing that when you first get into the role, you're thinking I want to protect and serve, but then after a certain amount of time it is I want to police? What causes that shift?"

Gwen Grant, social justice activist and president of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, said legislative change is needed across the country and locally.

"I hope that Congress will pass the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act," Grant said. "I hope that we can see change here in Kansas City because we have a problem here with deadly force and excessive force within the police department, and we need to see some meaningful change there."

Ultimately, both activists agreed Tuesday's verdict was a victory.

"When you do something so egregious, there must be accountability, there must be," Price said, "and this has renewed my sense of hope in that that system can sometimes work for us."