‘If there is ever a night where the country should be at peace it should be tonight’; Tri-Cities activists react to Chauvin verdict

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TRI-CITIES, Tenn./Va. (WJHL) — The death of George Floyd sparked controversy and outrage leading to protests in the Tri-Cities for several weeks over the summer.

“If there is ever a night where the country should be at peace it should be tonight,” said Washington Co./Johnson City NAACP President Tavia Sillmon. “I’m so thankful for the young lady who had the courage to actually take this because we never would’ve known it would’ve been one of those silent things that I was just lost in obscurity.”

Community activists breathed a sigh of relief after a jury convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.

“The message that was sent today is you can no longer hide behind a badge you must be accountable as a human being for what you stand for and if you’re going to use the badge to police something you need to be able to stand behind what you do and you need to do it with the right mindset,” Sillmon said. “Judgement and justice was served in this instance but we can’t stop we can’t say ‘Okay, this is it and we have arrived.’ we still got to work towards police reform and change.”

Tuesday night, it was quiet on State of Franklin Road in Johnson City where months before protestors shut the busy street down as they were trying to make sense of what happened.

“We can use this young man, 46 years old, George Floyd’s life was for purpose and we can use this purpose to move forward in the fight against racism and injustice,” said Jackie Nophlin, community activist and pastor of Household of Faith Community Church in Bristol, Virginia.

Community leaders saying those protests around the region and country and Floyd’s death was not in vain.

“All police officers are not guilty. they have jobs I want to be part of a career that’s honorable but it’s hard when you have the most few in there that break the law,” said Nophlin.

News Channel 11 asked Sillmon if she believed justice was served in the right way Tuesday.

“In this battle but not in the war,” said Sillmon. “We can’t stop this now. There are several people who have lost their lives and there were still people who were being stopped and murdered while the trial was still going on.”

Sillmon says she is working with Johnson City Police Chief Karl Turner on education, employment opportunities and committees to go out into the community.

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