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'A big step towards change': People in North Texas reflect on guilty verdict for Derek Chauvin

There was elation and relief as the jury found Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts for the death of George Floyd.

DALLAS — The jury in the Derek Chauvin trial found the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. The reverberations of the verdict were felt across the globe and reached North Texas.

There was elation and relief as the news spread. Some activists and organizers were on pins and needles as the verdict came down. 

The Next Generation Action Network gathered to watch as the judge returned with the jury's verdict. An activist group planned a 6:30 p.m. rally "to celebrate the conviction and continue the struggle against police violence" in front of Dallas City Hall, said the group Dallas Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression.

At South Dallas Cafe, people gathered to watch what would happen. As each guilty verdict was read out loud by the judge for the three counts: "Yes, yes, yes, justice at last!" they said.

"I think it was pretty open and shut, but being in the Black community you have a tendency to think that this is probably not going to turn out fair. Maybe people can see beyond protecting the police if he is a bad officer," said Dwayne Dancer. "Not to say there aren't good officers. Maybe this is the time to bring everybody together."

Activists in North Texas were comparing this trial to local jury trials involving officers who killed B lack residents, specifically victims Botham Jean and Jordan Edwards.

Former Balch Springs officer Roy Oliver was sentenced to 15 years in 2017 for the shooting death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in 2019 guilty of murder.

Earlier in the day Tuesday, businesses in Downtown Dallas started boarding up. Last summer, several businesses were damaged following news of Floyd's death.

A Neiman Marcus spokesperson said they were taking precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of customers, associates and communities.

Late in the evening, a small group with the Dallas Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression gathered on the steps of Dallas City Hall. 

Many there had one message: Chauvin is the first step and the next is focused on tackling systemic racism. 

Reporters Demond Fernandez, Rebecca Lopez and Matt Howerton and Digital Producer Eline de Bruijn contributed to this report.