COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A former Minneapolis police officer has been found guilty for the murder of George Floyd nearly a year after his death.
A jury found Derek Chauvin guilty on all charges against him and could spend up to 40 years behind bars. Former Canon City Chief of Police Paul Schultz watched the verdict as it aired and says the jury made the correct decision.
“To me, it was clearly criminal conduct and I think that guilty verdict was justified," Shultz says.
The former chief worked in law enforcement for 47 years. He watched the nearly ten-minute-long video of the murder when it was released and could not believe what unfolded. “It was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen a law enforcement officer do,” Schultz says.
As for what happens next with this verdict, Schultz says it will bring police departments to focus more on training to make sure a situation like this does not happen again. “It will reinforce the need for de-escalation training," Schultz says. "Clearly, what occurred, in this case, was excessive force that rose to criminal conduct.”
Floyd's death lead to protests nationwide, including in Colorado Springs. Every night for more than a week dozens gathered downtown.
One of them was Justin Baker, a founder of the People 719 non-profit activism group who also helped write the initial proposal to start the Colorado Springs Law Enforcement Transparency and Accountability Commission which he is now a part of. Baker telling us this verdict even though it's what he wanted, is bitter-sweet.
"To see that [George Floyd's] name and his family are getting the justice that they deserved is an awesome feeling," Baker says adding this verdict helps solidify what can be done if this happens again. “I think this verdict right here will make certain people see you can be held accountable and there are people out there now in the Springs with LETAC that will make sure things like this are held accountable," Baker says.
Another commissioner of LETAC Steve Kern was surprised the verdict came back so quickly. “I think in this case justice has been done,” Kern says. The Vice-chair says this verdict encourages them to continue to have conversations to work together on a challenging set of issues. "To figure out the best possible public safety processes and procedures for our community here in the city," Kern says.
Chauvin will face sentencing in eight weeks.