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Local leaders react to guilty verdict in Derek Chauvin trial

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Posted at 9:45 PM, Apr 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 02:15:07-04

Local organizations and leaders are reacting to Tuesday's verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.

"I do feel a sense of relief," said Lawanda Lyons-Pruitt, Santa Maria-Lompoc NAACP President.

Lyons-Pruitt says justice was served moments after former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

"We watched him for almost 10 minutes have no mercy, no empathy, no compassion until George Floyd was dead," Lyons-Pruitt said.

Along with many others, she's been on the forefront in the fight for justice for people of color on the Central Coast.

"We are the marginalized group, the under-served, under privileged but the one thing that you saw when this happened was that people of all ethnicity and diversity stood in solidarity with us," Lyons-Pruitt said.

"It was a turning point in race relations in the United States," she said.

She says that without more education and reform, something similar could happen here. She adds that police reform should be the next step.

"It has to be unified and it has to be on a national level," Lyons-Pruitt explained.

Meantime, Congressman Salud Carbajal took to Twitter saying:

Santa Barbara Police Chief, Bernard Melekian said in a press release issued on Tuesday that "I think it is unfortunate the actions of thousands and thousands of American police officers are being judged by a few."

The department also sent out this tweet:

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff also said:

Meanwhile, there a George Floyd Justice in Policing Bill in the Senate that the local NAACP chapter says they're hopeful it'll be passed to become law.