As Derek Chauvin verdict looms, Triangle faith leader and activists say anxiety grows

Durham County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Eight minutes and 46 seconds. That’s how long ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck.

Weeks have been spent on Chauvin’s trial and now, within a matter of days, there could be a decision on his fate in Floyd’s death.

The anxiety level?

“It’s very high! Very high from everyone. Especially in the Black community. But the good thing about it — it’s just not the Black community,” said Miguel Staten.

Staten is an activist in the Triangle area and has participated in protests and vigils.

“A lot of people are also thinking about if he’s not found guilty what the outcome will look like. Not only in Raleigh, but across the country. The message it will send,” Kerwin Pittman said.

Pittman is also an activist in the area. He was an organizer of rallies and marches since the deaths of Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

If you drive through downtown Raleigh, you’ll notice the memory of last summer’s protests has not faded.

“It is really unnerving to me as a lawyer. I understand the mechanics and fundamentals clearly of what’s going on but what really matters here is not necessarily happens in the court of law, but what happens in the court of public opinion,” said Rev. Dr. Jay Augustine, Pastor at St. Joseph’s AME Church in Durham.

“In the court of public opinion African Americans have had a very rough time in the judicial system,” Augustine said.

As far as what unfolds after the Chauvin verdict, that’s still up in the air.

“What Raleigh will look like after? I honestly can’t say. I don’t believe it will be a pretty rainbow picture,” Pittman said.

Chauvin’s fate is now in the hands of the jury.

“You’re going to have to go with your gut feeling. Be on the right side of history,” said Staten.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Click here for full list of trending stories