SAN DIEGO – More than 100 San Diegans took to the streets Tuesday night to celebrate the guilty verdict of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, but many also said more must be done to hold law enforcement accountable.
San Diego police had motorcycles in front and back of the march as people marched through the streets peacefully for hours.
“I was able to breathe for a second,” Black Lives Matter supporter Chris Martinez said.
But only for a second. Martinez said that breath of fresh air didn’t last long after she heard that a 16-year-old girl was shot and killed by police in Ohio around the same time the verdict was read in Minneapolis. Martinez said police brutality seems to just continue.
This was a widespread message of Tuesday’s march.
“Because a 13-year-old boy who complied was killed in Chicago when he was told to raise his hands. He did so and he’s still dead — that is why I’m out here,” said a BLM supporter who goes by the name Kovu. “Because six minutes they kneeled on Angel’s neck here and his last words were ‘I just need to breathe.’ That’s in San Diego. That’s why I’m out here.”
He said Tuesday’s verdict was not surprising, but rather necessary.
“Today was accountability, but it’s not full justice,” Kovu said.
That sentiment was echoed Tuesday by many of San Diego’s state and local elected leaders. Mayor Todd Gloria said the jury in the case “rightly called this case what it was: murder.”
“Derek Chauvin’s actions were an abuse of power and a disservice to those who nobly protect and serve our communities – and now, he will be held accountable,” Gloria said in a statement, adding that he hopes “we will take up the important work” in addressing systemic wrongs.
But Martinez said it will take a seismic shift in community policing for circumstances to improve.
“They need to completely dismantle the police system and build it from the ground up or else all this is not going to stop,” Martinez said. “We’re tired.”