(WSIL) -- Nancy Maxwell, criminal justice chair of the Carbondale NAACP, had tears in her eyes as the judge read the 'guilty' verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin early Tuesday afternoon.
But she wiped away the tears and thought, "It's just one case." That fact lingered in Maxwell's mind as celebrations unfolded across the country. One victory today but more fights tomorrow.
"This is a good victory but it's a first step," Maxwell said. "We still got a huge fight ahead of us."
Chauvin, a former Minneapolis Police officer, was found guilty of second degree murder, third degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the May 2020 death of George Floyd.
The Floyd Family won its battle but other families were just starting theirs In Brooklyn Center, Minn., 10 miles from Minneapolis, protests continue following the shooting death of 20-year old Daunte Wright.
Wright, who was Black, was killed by a police officer, who is White, in a traffic stop just days after the second week of the trial.
On the night of the verdict, protests sparked in Columbus, Ohio after the shooting death of 15-year old Mah'Kia Bryant by a police officer. Columbus Police later released body cam footage.
Those cases, and others, Maxwell says are proof that the work is not finished.
"The fact that those things happened simultaneously with the trial brings the awareness that we just got started," Maxwell said.
News 3 reached out to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office to ask whether the verdict could spark any change to the department's policing policies.
In a text message to News 3, Sheriff Jeff Bullard said, "The Chauvin verdict doesn't affect us much here. We are trained to not leave someone in that position for extended periods due to the risk of positional asphyxiation."
Maxwell says the Southern Illinois Unity Coalition is holding events leading up to the anniversary of Floyd's death. The events are happening May 22 through May 25.
Southern Illinois Unity Coalition Events (All at Carbondale Pavilion, unless noted)
- Sat. May 22: George Floyd Verdict Celebration (Attucks Park, Carbondale)
- Sun. May 23: Prayer Vigil
- Mon. May 24: Peace Circle
- Tues. May 25: March For Justice