HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Devon Jacob is a national civil rights attorney from Mechanicsburg who assisted attorney Ben Crump in the $27 million settlement reached with the city of Minneapolis after George Floyd’s death. Jacob has been following the Chauvin trial closely.
“The video really doesn’t lie,” Jacob said. “Common sense says we saw what we saw which was excessive use of force by a police officer that didn’t just cross the line, it flew across the line.”
There have been three weeks of testimony at Derek Chauvin’s trial. The prosecution called on Floyd’s brother to testify and was overwhelmed with emotion as he took the stand.
“I don’t think you can call it a tactic, I think you can call it a reality,” Jacob said. “This incident had a significant impact not only on George Floyd and his family but on everyone in the nation and we saw around the globe people up in arms about what happened.”
The defense argued Chauvin’s actions were justified and pointed to Floyd’s heart and drug issues. Following closing arguments, the jury must deliberate whether or not Chauvin is guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
As jurors deliberate, the nation is holding its breath.
“No matter what the verdict is, the floodgates will be open for everyone to share their opinions and have an open conversation about how they feel about this,” Jontel Toland, Lancaster City resident.
Here in Pennsylvania, Floyd’s death sparked protests in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and here in the Midstate. In anticipation of the verdict, Governor Wolf has deployed more than 1,000 Pennsylvania National Guard members to Philadelphia.
In Lancaster City, officers have not been told to be on standby.
“It is people’s first amendment right to gather and that right is protected and there would not need to be a police presence unless there were things happening that put people and their safety in jeopardy,” said Danene Sorace, Mayor of Lancaster City.
Despite whatever the verdict is, Jacob said Floyd’s family wants peace.
“I think the whole family would like that whatever happens, be peaceful in the end and there’s no certainty what the outcome is going to be, but regardless of who is frustrated at the end of this, the hope is that the dialogue is productive and non-violent,” Jacob said.
Deliberations could take several days.