After a lengthy trial, Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all charges today in Minneapolis in the murder of George Floyd. Chauvin was the police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for nine-and-a-half minutes during an arrest on suspicion of passing a counterfeit bill. Floyd was Black; Chauvin was White.
The trial has been difficult to watch. We’ve all seen footage of Floyd’s death last May, footage from multiple vantage points. The medical examiner ruled that cutting off his breathing for nearly ten minutes is what killed him. Yet, the prosecution argued that Floyd did not die from having his breathing cut off for all that time, that he died because he was a drug user. So, if he hadn’t been a drug user, nine-and-a-half minutes without breathing wouldn’t have killed him? They really expect people to believe that? Are we supposed to accept that deadly force is justified against a nonviolent suspect, if the suspect has had prior problems with drugs or crime?
I was so afraid Chauvin would get off. He was so obviously, blatantly guilty. I mean, we all watched him commit murder on video. But in almost every similar case for years — and there have been many of them — the police officer has been acquitted. I thought it would happen again, but the jury based its decision on the facts this time, for once.
I hope it means we’ve turned a corner in this country. I hope it means we’re going to start holding police officers accountable for racially motivated traffic stops, arrests, and yes, murders. It would be a long time coming.