Western New Yorkers say change is still needed despite guilty verdict in Chauvin trial


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — After Tuesday’s guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, leaders are now looking into what this means for police departments across the country.

“One person died, another person went to jail, so it wasn’t a day to be happy,” said legal analyst John Elmore. “But the jury came back with the right verdict. The thing to be excited about is there is a momentum for police reform, and there’s a strong need for police reform.”

Local officials say that includes police reform needed here in the Queen City.

“I think we have to change in the way we do policing,” said Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen. “Get away from the paramilitary model of policing and more to public safety so police officers go home alive and people go home alive.”

Less than 24 hours after the verdict came down, demonstrators gathered in Niagara Square. Organizers said they would have been out regardless if Chauvin was found guilty or not to honor George Floyd.

Those at the demonstration told News 4 they were happy Floyd’s family got their well-deserved closure, but this is just the start in holding police departments accountable.

“This is just one step in a very, very long process that needs to be changed from the ground up,” said one of the organizers of the event, Julia Stevens.

We could see some police reform locally. Last August, Governor Andrew Cuomo mandated the 500-plus jurisdictions with police departments statewide to send in plans for police reform. The deadline to submit those plans was three weeks ago on April 1.

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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