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Local barbers react to historic verdict in Derek Chauvin trial

Local barbers react to historic verdict in Derek Chauvin trial
Posted at 10:27 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 01:27:42-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — It's been nearly a year since George Floyd's death.

When it first happened, KGUN9 visited with a local barber, and staple of the Tucson Black community.

We’re talking about Tommie’s Barber and Beauty located at at 3400 East Speedway.

Customers here say this place is a safe haven for conversations. A place where you can always catch the buzz of what’s happening in Tucson.

While today may look like a normal day inside Tommie’s Barber and Beauty, owner Tommie Clardy Jr. says it sure feels a lot different following the verdict of the Derek Chauvin trial.

“You know, the barbershop is a pretty big deal. It’s only a couple of times where we’ve turned everything off and watched TV. It’s only O.J. Simpson and George Floyd,” he told KGUN9.

Nearly one year ago protests unfolded across the country, and here in Tucson, over the death of George Floyd.

“There’s a big sigh of relief that the verdict came back for justice,” Clardy Jr. added.

“A lot of people didn’t think that...there would be a conviction,” said Robert Fry.

Fry is a barber and former police officer who says there’s still more to be done.

“We know it’s not over especially when you have two other African American individuals shot in the last two days,” Fry told KGUN9.

Clardy Jr. adds that today is a day of new beginnings, but one of continued conversations about racism.

A topic he says has been popular inside the barbershop since Floyd’s death.

“Our shop, as you see, is very diverse. Everybody feels comfortable in here. That’s how...that’s how the world should be,” said Clardy Jr.

Al Longmire has been a barber for more than 50 years. He says the verdict gives him hope for the future.

“It was just good to see. I go all the way back to when Dr. MArtin Luther King was assassinated. I was cutting hair around town then,” Longmire told KGUN9.

Fry says the next step will be holding people accountable through legislation and law enforcement training.

“Those officers who attend those implicit bias trainings, if they actually utilize those skills...some of the turnouts would be different,” Fry said.

“I expect the ball to start rolling now,” added Longmire.

“I think that our kids are going to continue this fight to ensure justice for everybody. Justice for all,” Clardy Jr. told KGUN9.