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Gov. Cox, Utah NAACP call for peace upon Chauvin verdict announcement

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Posted at 8:02 PM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-19 22:21:41-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Spencer Cox and the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) released statements Monday calling for "calm" as jurors in the trial of Derek Chauvin deliberated a verdict.

“[We] are calling for calm as the jurors deliberate after closing arguments in the Derek Chauvin trial charged with murder of George Floyd," read the statement, attributed to NAACP Salt Lake Branch President Jeanetta Williams. "The jurors will deliberate and render a possibly verdict this week. If there are to be a protest regardless of the verdict, the NAACP calls for non-violence.”

Williams is also the president of the NAACP Tri-State Conference of Idaho, Nevada and Utah.

READ: Utah law enforcement, activists say protests likely once Chauvin verdict announced

Cox issued a similar statement, calling for a "calm community response."

“We understand that tensions around the Derek Chauvin trial remain high. We acknowledge and respect the judicial process that has played out and the weighty decisions made by the judge and jury," the governor's statement read. "As the verdict is announced, we urge Utahns to respond within the bounds guaranteed by the First Amendment. We will respect personal safety, life and property. Any threats against such will not be tolerated.”

Chauvin is charged with second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the death of Floyd. Widely-shared bystander video showed Chauvin and other officers on top of Floyd for more than nine minutes, including Chauvin with his knee on the man's neck and back.

Floyd's death sparked nationwide protests, some of which remained peaceful while others turned violent.

Closing arguments in Chauvin's trial concluded Monday, and jurors have concluded deliberations for the day without a verdict reached. They will resume Tuesday.