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Baltimore Police Commissioner Says Derek Chauvin Failed To 'Protect And Serve' As Maryland Leaders React To Verdict

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"Watching it from both angles it's horrifying. Everything that I saw was wrong on every level whether it's through the lens of being a Black man or through the lens of being a policing professional," Commissioner Harrison said.

Video Transcript

- George Floyd's murder and the ultimate conviction of the officer who killed him drew widespread reaction when that verdict rolled in. But even from the start of this case, many police officers condemned Derek Chauvin's actions. WJZ is live at 7:00. Ava-joye Burnett spoke with Commissioner Michael Harrison, who called this case, Ava-joye, horrifying.

AVA-JOYE BURNETT: Well, this was a really deeply personal conversation for Police Commissioner Michael Harrison. He's been in law enforcement for about 30 years. He's also a Black man with Black sons.

Like millions of people around the globe, Commissioner Michael Harrison watched as George Floyd lost his life under the weight of a police officer.

MICHAEL HARRISON: Watching it from both angles is horrifying.

AVA-JOYE BURNETT: Commissioner Harrison said Derek Chauvin failed to protect and serve. But he was also looking at that video through another lens, as a Black man.

MICHAEL HARRISON: Everything that I saw was wrong on every level. I'm a law enforcement professional, I have been for 30 years. But before I was that, I was a Black man and a Black boy.

AVA-JOYE BURNETT: The commissioner has two sons. And like many households of color, he's had "the talk" with them. This is a guide on how to interact with police.

MICHAEL HARRISON: And because I did, they kind of handle themselves a little bit differently now. But I don't think I-- you know, I'm an American citizen, I shouldn't have to have it. But because I'm a Black man in America, I did.

AVA-JOYE BURNETT: Advocates say Derek Chauvin's conviction for killing a Black man will be a pivotal moment in civil rights history, and a responsibility for a new generation.

- Young people of all colors simply came out and said, this is not the kind of America I want. And thanks to those young people, they've given new hope and a new vision of what America may become.

AVA-JOYE BURNETT: And lawmakers all across the country have commented on this verdict. Governor Larry Hogan said justice has been served. Live at 7:00, Ava-joye Burnett for WJZ.