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Kern County leaders say Chauvin trial is just the beginning

Next steps include furthering education and reform
Posted at 5:23 AM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 09:48:52-04

KERN COUNTY, Calif. — Celebrations were seen across the nation as Judge Peter Cahill read the verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial.

“We must do more to reduce the likelihood that tragedies like this will ever happen or occur again," said Present Joe Biden.

Biden said this is just the beginning. Something Arleana Waller with the MLK Initiative agrees with.

“This is the floor of where we need to be. This is not the ceiling. So this is a right step because we’re starting to build what justice for all could truly look like," she said.

Following George Floyd’s death last year, the Bakersfield Police Department and Kern County Sheriff’s Office banned the use of the carotid hold. KCSO also created an advisory council to help its officers strengthen its relationship with our community.

Waller said the momentum for this kind of police reform needs to continue.

“What happened is men and women came from behind that blue wall and said this is not us and they need to continue doing that because a bad cop is bad for cops and citizens," said Waller.

Doctor Tommy Tunson from Bakersfield College told 23ABC this should be a launching pad for more education.

"The training and education that we currently have, I think, is not enough to address racial equity and social justice in the curriculum in police academies," said Tunson.

And Patrick Jackson with Kern County’s NAACP said its the curriculum and legal changes that will truly impact our future.

"It’s great that justice was had but actual change within departments is going to take a lot more work as far as legislation and consequences are concerned throughout the ranks," said Jackson.

Overnight, Democrats pushed Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act. It will require all Democrats and ten Republicans in the Senate to pass.