INDIANAPOLIS — Sarah Vitale, who leads the activist group Muncie Resists, shares what went through her mind after hearing Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd.
"The first thing that came to my head was, "Thank God." I was extremely relieved. We all watched Derek Chauvin murder George Floyd and we had to watch it several times again during the trial," Vitale said. "I think a lot of us were preparing for a different verdict because of how often police are exonerated for murdering Black and Brown people in this country."
Vitale believes protests that happened across the country and around the world after George Floyd was murdered last May, have created an atmosphere where police officers will be held accountable for their actions.
"I think that there has been an awakening and the beginning of some sort of reckoning," she said. "That reckoning isn't just for cases that make international headlines. There are police officers in our community who are going to stand trial for excessive force.
WRTV Investigates has reported extensively on Muncie Police Officers recently charged for excessive force.
Court documents said they were kicking, punching, and tasing those getting arrested without justification. If all of that is proven to be true, Vitale suggests holding them accountable is the best thing for the Muncie community.
"I think that this is showing a possibility of moving forward, of reconciliation, of improved relations," Vitale said.
Like many groups throughout the nation, Muncie Resists continues to call for the same police reforms they protested for over the summer. This includes reducing the budget for law enforcement.
"The message of defund the police has been confusing to many, but the police should not be the first line of response in so many of the cases they are. I'm not saying we don't need police but in several settings, we need mental health practitioners, social workers and those organizations need to be funded," Vitale said.