Local civil rights activists push for policing changes at the federal level

PITTSBURGH — Following the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, local community activists told Channel 11, they became overcome with emotion when the former Minneapolis police officer was found guilty in the death of George Floyd.

“I’m so overwhelmed right now. It’s just really overwhelming,” said Tanisha Long, Pittsburgh Black Lives Matter.

“I don’t look at this at this as vindication, because there are so many black men and women that have died. Hopefully, hopefully – this will be the beginning of the end of this kind of foolishness,” said Kenneth Huston, President of the NAACP of Pennsylvania.

Both community leaders tell Channel 11 they are fighting for the legacy of George Floyd by promoting the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act.

The bill passed the House of Representatives, but has not been presented in the U.S. Senate.

The legislation calls for a ban on neck restraints at the federal level as well as regulates qualified immunity for police officers.

“This was an exhausting situation for myself personally as a civil rights advocate and a man of color. I pray to God that at some point we come to realize that this stuff has to stop,” said Huston.

“We recognize this is a positive thing, this decision. That we now have other black lives that we will haven’t seen accountability for, that not being able to cry, is because we know the fight is not over,” said Long.

Both leaders inform Channel 11, protests from the summer of 2020 in Pittsburgh and around the country may have had an impact on the trial.