SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — “I was relieved more than anything,” Sioux Falls community leader Vaney Hariri said. “When I saw the verdict come down I was just relieved because there are a lot of communities that are going to be in much better condition because that verdict came down.”
Relief for many people across the country Tuesday after a Minneapolis jury found George Floyd’s killer guilty on all counts. It took 10 hours of deliberation for the jury to find former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter.
While the verdict has many people celebrating, Hariri says this ruling is just a step in the right direction.
“There are some people that are really excited about this. But I think a misconception for people that this is somehow a win. It’s not a win, it’s what should happen,” Hariri said. “That’s what supposed to happen. The loss already happened when there was a loss of life, so there’s no getting that back, there’s nothing to win, it’s just something that gives you an opportunity to start to believe in the justice system, that requires belief or faith in order for it to work, so in that way, it’s a good thing.”
Hariri has been working to bring positive change and conversation to Sioux Falls since George Floyd was killed by officer Chauvin last May.
“When they don’t come together, when they don’t learn the reasons that they should love each other, those are the results that you get 100 percent of the time,” Hariri said.
He says this verdict and the community outrage over George Floyd’s death is an important step for future change.
“People are developing a connection with how it is actually affecting their neighbors and their friends, as the world becomes more diverse and Sioux Falls comes more diverse, you probably have a person of color that’s your friend that you care about,” Hariri said. “There’s only so long you can look that friend in the face knowing that this is happening to people that look like them, because they look like them.”
But Hariri says this important guilty verdict is by no means a final resolution in the continued movement for change.
“This is not the end of anything, we have half a dozen stories that are in the national news right now around this type of subject matter,” Hariri said.
He says the best thing the community can do to continue moving for change is to ask our community and government leaders how they plan to bring about change and then continue to follow up to make sure those ideas are implemented.