Central Indiana community organizations hope for justice in Derek Chauvin trial

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The June 2020 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody sparked nights of protests and riots in Indianapolis and fueled calls for social justice.

News 8 talked to several people and community organizations in Indianapolis on Monday as the trial began for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis officer accused of murdering Floyd.

Even though the trial is happening in Minneapolis, reaction came in from all over.

“The old saying is ‘Justice delayed is justice denied.’ So, it’s off to a promising start in that the trial process has begun,” Mark Russell, director of education & advocacy with the Indianapolis Urban League, said Monday.

On Monday, perspectives differed on that trial.

“I’m hoping for just justice for George and his family,” April Christal, of Muncie, explained while in downtown Indianapolis.

“I believe in the law, and I think that the judge and the jury’s going to make the best decision. I just hope that it’s a fair trial,” Thomas Corona, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, told News 8 in downtown Indianapolis.

James Wilson is the CEO of Circle Up Indy, a nonprofit that focuses on economics, education, employment, mentoring, and health services for youth and families.

He told News 8 watching Day 1 of the trial made him feel “angry a little bit, to be honest with you. It brought back memories of everything that we’ve seen last year, but now with greater detail.”

Asked what outcome he would like to see in the Chauvin trial, Wilson said, “Yeah, we all want justice, but justice can be decided for both the defense and the prosecutors. What we want is real evolution. Setting a tone that officers can he held accountable when they do things wrong. Not all officers are bad, let me make that very clear.”

Wilson further expanded on what he hopes to see from the trial.

“That the family gets an opportunity to really get justice served beyond all means and measures, and accountabilities are held up to the utmost. And that he does his time. If that were me or anybody else, I would probably get ready to get life in prison.” Wilson explained.

Russell expanded on what he hopes the trial brings: “We are hopeful that this trial brings justice, not only to his family, but also to the greater community: Black, white and brown, for anyone interested in true justice.”

Russell said he hopes the end result of the trial emphasizes justice, but also that people will pay attention to and bring to light any injustices they see.

“We should not be passive standbys, passive observers of justice in our communities. We need to do what is right for all who may be affected,” Russell said.

Russell said some examples of that could be on the street in a situation like this involving an officer, or something you know is wrong that has the potential to impact the community in a negative way.