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Push for equity in criminal justice system and policing continues after Chauvin's guilty verdict

George Floyd
Posted at 6:07 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 20:59:19-04

DENVER -- For many, the guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin was a victory in the courtroom, but for some, it was a reminder of a need for change.

"One victory, one verdict, that’s all. We’ve got to do better. We’ve got to do more," said civil rights activist, Alvertis Simmons.

Alvertis Simmons says now is the time to bridge the gap between communities of color and police departments across the country.

"Our young kids have to know if they see a police officer they should not be afraid. They should be able to talk to that police officer and get directions of get help and not get killed," said Simmons.

For Denver Police Department sergeant and president of the Denver’s Black Police Officer's Association, Carla Havard, authentic conversations is a starting point.

"We have some trust to rebuild and we have some pains to heal, and we have some hearts to mend, and we're going to have to do that together because these issues that we're facing, not only in policing, they're rooted in other institutions as well," said Havard.

For Havard, and other Black officers, they’ve been between a rock and hard place for the last year.

"Certainly its been a part of a system that we love, and that we're trying to change and make more equitable and also the realization that we are Black and there are still racism and inequities that are happening even in 2021," said Havard.

Moving forward into a new era of policing, she says officers need to have a proper balance between compassion and consequence regardless of people’s race, color, ethnicity or sex.

"If folks are not in line with those goals that we have here, they certainly don't need to be a part of policing and certainly they don't need to be a part of policing in Denver," said Havard.

Respect and transparency are non-starters for Simmons.

"Those are two major issues that need to be addressed, and I think if we can work through those two goals just those two I think we will be making progress," said Simmons.

None of these changes will happen overnight but it’s the small steps toward healing trauma and rebuilding trust that could make all the difference.