PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Derek Chauvin verdict brought out plenty of emotions for former Pittsburgh Steeler Ray Seals.
He is the cousin of Jonny Gammage, who was beaten and suffocated by five police officers during a traffic stop along Route 51 in 1995.READ MORE: College Students Across Western Pennsylvania Celebrate Commencement In Person
Seals said it was a verdict he didn’t expect.
“When I did see he was convicted, I was like wow,” said Seals. “I’ve seen so many cases where they got off. I wasn’t really paying attention to it.”
However, now that the verdict has settled in, Seals said he’s ready to see change, especially because he knows all too well the pain of losing a relative to the hands of police.
Gammage was driving Seals’ Jaguar when he was pulled over by police. Testimony later revealed Gammage pleaded for his life as police attacked him.
An autopsy later found Gammage died from pressure applied to his neck and chest. Only three of the five officers were charged and of them, trials for two ended in a mistrial, and the third was acquitted.
“It’s a matter of equal treatment,” said Seals.READ MORE: 100 Years Of The Double Dip: Kennywood Reopens And Celebrates Milestone For The Jack Rabbit
Equal treatment, Seals said, no matter the color of your skin.
“We have to get rid of this thing when a cop pulls over a Black person, they feel threatened. The person in the car is Black and feels threatened,” said Seals.
While Seals said the pain of losing his cousin will never go away, the Chauvin verdict does give him some sense of relief.
“It’s a sense of peace for kids of the future. Even I have a son and I worry,” said Seals.
However, he does hope that one day his cousin will get justice.
“In terms of what took place with my cousin, I just hope that one day that one of those officers will come and tell the real truth,” said Seals.MORE NEWS: First Week Of Landmark Trial Against Opioid Distributors In West Virginia Comes To An End
Seals said it’s never too late to do that.