The verdict was quick and clear in the case against Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin: guilty of all charges.
A jury in Minneapolis was quick an unanimous in holding Chauvin accountable for the death of George Floyd Jr., the man on whose neck he kneeled for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
Until George Floyd died.
That brutal death, caught on video by onlookers and replaced hundreds of times since last May 25, cast the nation into unrest about yet another person of color dying in a confrontation with police.
Black Lives Matters demonstrations emerged in many cities and towns as residents lashed out against what they had seen. There were two gatherings for unity in Martinsville and Henry County.
Chauvin could spend dozens of years in prison for murdering Floyd, and man residents across the country, particularly African-Americans, were relaxing and celebrating in what they saw as justice prevailing against a police officer, something many weren’t expecting.
That the outcome was so decisive and so quick and so meaningful to so many has not been lost anywhere across the country.
The Bulletin asked residents and former residents for their impressions and feelings about how this played out and how they viewed what happened Tuesday in that courtroom more than a thousand miles away.
Most agreed with the verdict, but some didn’t like how this played out.
“Justice has been served.”
Linda Weaver Nolen, Henry County
“Accountability for actions were served today.”
Sarah Jordan, Stuart
“He got what he deserved.”
Robin Renee, Greensboro, N.C.
“It was murder, we all know that. What other reaction could be had? I woke up watching the whole video on Facebook the day after it happened. Regardless of how you feel, murder is murder.”
Allen Parsons, Bassett
“Do the crime, pull the time.”
Charles Upchurch, Bassett
“How can any of us express an intelligent opinion? As far as I know, none of us were on the jury, none of us heard testimony and arguments, nor were we privy to the jury deliberations.”
Dicky Globman, Martinsville
“Justice has been served. It’s a disgrace. Rest in peace George Floyd.”
Sandra Barker Bowman, Midland, Mich., (formerly of Axton)
“It was murder.”
Norma Gamez, Bassett
Walter Sheppard, Martinsville
“I think he got a raw deal. His family could care less about him; they only want to get money.”
Doris Richardson, Martinsville
“I’m good with the outcome.”
Patricia Schneider, Eden, N.C.
“Due to the publicity and hostility surrounding the case, I feel that it should have been moved to another country and the entire court case should have been closed to spectators and a mandatory gag order in place on all at the trial. We are evaluating a trained police officer’s actions and not some barroom fight.”
Linda Lawrey, Hampton
“The jury got it right this time.”
“Can you imagine if it had gone the other way, what would be happening right now, however, I do feel justice was served.
Rachel Ballard Brooks, Fieldale
“The officer had Floyd subdued. The next action should have been handcuffs instead of kneeling on his neck.”
Lisa Harbour, Martinsville
“I wonder if the courts will be as lenient with him as they were with Mr. Floyd.”
“If George Floyd were still alive doing his daily routines, nobody would give him the time of day. As far as today, justice was served.”
Darrell Fulcher, Roanoke (formerly of Martinsville)
“Justice has been served.”
Truman Adkins, Bassett
Carolyn Scales, Martinsville
“Derek Chauvin is entitled to the same constitutional rights of due process and a fair trial that George Floyd received numerous times. In the face of blatant jury tampering and intimidation, the only justice served in this case was mob justice.”
“Justice has spoken. Let’s just pray for one another and be safe and happy and love each other.”
Arlene Porter, Martinsville
“The verdict is indicative of mob rule. The city awards the Floyd family a high settlement and then intimidation of the jury by Maxine Waters. The case is ripe for retrial.”
“The verdict was just, especially in light of Chauvin’s initial agreement to plead out to 3rd degree murder. State Attorney General Ellison would not take yes for an answer, however, and insisted on putting on a show trial. While the verdict was just, the trial was a travesty.”
Bill Bouldin, Kerrville, Texas (formerly of Martinsville)
“The outcome was correct, except it seems contradictory to convict a person of unintentionally killing and intentionally killing them at the same time.”
Tony Albanese, Lexington, N.C. (formerly of Martinsville)
Bill Wyatt of the Bulletin staff collected these comments.