Western Oregon reacts to Derek Chauvin verdict

Many community members said they were shocked to hear the jury's decision but happy justice was served.

Posted: Apr 21, 2021 5:08 AM

EUGENE, Ore.-- Like many across the country, people in Western Oregon were holding their breath as the verdict was read for former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin Tuesday afternoon. 

Chauvin was found guilty of all three charges in the death of George Floyd, including second and third-degree murder. Many community members said they were shocked to hear the jury's decision but happy justice was served. Eric Richardson, the Executive Director of the Eugene-Springfield NAACP, is one of those who agree.

"I'm just really happy today. I've talked to some of my staff who said they cried," Richardson said. "I think it was tears of relief."

At Oregon State University, a public forum was held where students and faculty were able to express their thoughts on the verdict. Many speakers echoed the feeling of relief Chauvin was found guilty. Charlene Alexander, OSU's Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, said it was a surreal moment to hear the verdict.

"I was fearful that it wouldn't happen," Alexanders said. "So there was a moment of shock and a moment of relief."

Isiah Wagoner is a black activist in Eugene and he said, days of protesting kept the conversation alive, leading to Tuesday's outcome. 

"Everyone who was in the protest, everyone that spoke about it, everyone that posted something had their own little token in making sure this case was out there that it was important," Wagoner said. "So I think that everyone that stood in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, stood with George Floyd, and all the other victims had a piece in making sure that justice was served today with three guilty counts."

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