Former MPD lieutenant, BLOC director react to Chauvin verdict

Community advocates say police training should change next in the fight for racial equality, including in Milwaukee. They say Derek Chauvin's conviction in the murder of George Floyd was merely a step in the right direction and a reminder that hope is out there.

A former police lieutenant said law enforcement should be content with the removal of an officer that didn't follow the rules but added that reform takes effort from both sides.

Kenneth Harris

After 24 years of work at the Milwaukee Police Department, Kenneth Harris said the guilty verdict handed down in Minnesota provides a path forward, not just for the Black community, but for police departments, as well.

"The badge can become shiny again," said Harris. "We can start to clean house, and it's just a start, but it's not a reflection of all law enforcement officers. It's just that 1% that we need to get rid of."

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Harris said police reform is needed and that it must happen in people on both sides.

"Citizens need to actually give a little bit more," said Harris. "Don't expect perfection from people who are not perfect, and just like we don't expect citizens to be perfect."

Black Leaders Organizing for Communities Executive Director Angela Lang said the verdict, some accountability, is a start.

George Floyd

"I think it's important for folks to know that, you know, we're constantly grieving those that didn't get that level of accountability," said Lang.

In Milwaukee, with the Fire and Police Commission considering banning chokeholds altogether, Lang said the city has the opportunity to make things right with policy.

"The exceptions that are being talked about now are in case of an officer feeling unsafe," said Lang. "That is incredibly subjective and has really led us to be in this point."

Harris said he paid close attention to Chauvin's body language when the judge read the verdict, saying he felt the former officer's eyes showed a sense of fear and defeat. He said that showed Chauvin is human and that the sense of humanity is needed now more than ever in policing.


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