Arkansas police task force react to Chauvin verdict

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansans are reacting to the guilty verdict Wednesday. The members of a task force created by the governor in wake of the George Floyd’s death.

There have been a lot of emotions around this verdict. The man, we spoke with said this is just the start of change around the country and here in Arkansas.

“It was just something significant because he was found guilty and found guilty on all three charges,” local community leader, Jimmy Warren said.

A sense of home for many. following the guilty verdict of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

“It shows a precedent-setting that even though the officer may hide behind the immunity blanket this now shows that you can be charged for your failure to act or your failure to act recklessly,” Warren said.

Jimmy Warren was part of a task force formed by Governor Asa Hutchinson in the wake of protests following the death of George Floyd. The goal of “The Taskforce to Advance the State of Law Enforcement”, is to address policing issues in Arkansas.

“There were a lot of hard conversations that we had in those meetings,” Warren said. “There were a lot of emotions but more so there were a lot of friendships and comradery was built.”

Warren said while the guilty verdict is a step in the right direction — this is just the beginning.

“I think that people are also realizing as much as we are happy last night, that we have to get back to work today,” Warren said.

He said there is more to be done, referencing recent killings of Black men and women by police.

“There’s still work to be done when it comes to police reform, when it comes to just sitting down having engagement and conversations between citizens and police officers,” Warren said.

We asked Warren his opinion on where the natural state is with policing.

“We’re in a good position to learn and a good position that we can pivot,” Warren said. “I think over the last year we’ve been in a unique situation because we had a Republican Governor who actually sat down with protesters.”

The task force submitted 27 recommendations to the governor, including accountability, training and a rise in pay. Warren said as of Tuesday, 18 of those recommendations have gone through the legislative branch or been enacted in police training.

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