Minutes after the verdict was announced, Barbara Morrison hurtled down a sidewalk in an electric wheelchair, shouting “Guilty on all counts!” while hammering his right fist in the air.
The jazz singer, who owns a performing arts center in Leimert Park Village, toured the village, spreading the news to people who were eating outside or visiting stores in the bustling shopping district that is teeming with predominantly black businesses. The village has long been a center of black cultural life in Los Angeles and has become a meeting place following the murder of George Floyd.
Eddie Johnson, who was eating at Ackee Bamboo when Morrison passed by, said he was both excited and relieved by the guilty verdict of former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin.
“We were praying for it, but at the same time, we felt like it could probably go the other way,” said the 61-year-old.
The Long Beach resident said if the verdict had taken a different direction, the world’s reaction could have been catastrophic.
“When it first happened it affected the whole world,” he said of the anti-racist protests last summer after Floyd’s death. “So it would have been worse. Enough is enough.”
Ultimately, Chauvin was convicted on Tuesday by a jury of Floyd’s murder. It took the jurors – six white, four black, two who identify as biracial – less than 12 hours to render the verdict. He could face up to 40 years in prison.
Marie Lou, a woman from Montreal, was also sitting outside Ackee Bamboo when she heard the news.
“I’m happy” with the verdict, said Lou, 26, of Koreatown. “I think it was a good thing.”
Dwanye Newton, who had followed the trial closely, said he was not surprised by the guilty verdict.
“It’s a little hard, though, because when you see the video, unless there’s something I’m missing, it’s a little hard not to feel like it was intentional.” , said Newton, 58, of Long Beach. “Maybe he didn’t think it was going to happen, but that doesn’t give you the excuse.”
He was also relieved that the verdict was different from that of the LAPD officers involved in the beating of Rodney King in 1992, which sparked outrage and riots in Los Angeles.
“We all thought, ‘You can see it. The camera doesn’t lie, ”he says. “But if you can go through that and they can record it … I just hoped it wouldn’t be like this again.”
Monique Woods, 50, and her 28-year-old daughter were hosting a pop-up store in the village to sell accessories from their online store when they heard people talking about the verdict. Like many, Woods first felt relief. “It’s so much pressure,” said the West LA resident. “And then on top of that, I knew the kids were going to go crazy and I was so scared for them because I didn’t know how the police were going to react.”
Although she is satisfied with the verdict, she is also still concerned about the reaction of people in the opposition.