On Tuesday, after just 11-hour deliberation, a US jury found ex-police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three counts: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter of the killing of George Floyd. He is due to be sentenced in around 2 months time and could face up to 75 years behind bars.
Derek Chauvin – a white police officer- was filmed last May whilst arresting George Floyd – a Black man. Chauvin is filmed with his knee pressed down on Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes. Floyd says ‘I Can’t Breathe’ more than 20 times in the 9 minutes – until he loses consciousness.
George Floyd’s death led to international protests and outrage. And America, and the world, was forced to look at racism and police brutality.
The murder that drove America to the brink
The BBC says the stakes of the trial were extraordinarily high and left people relieved and also still trying to protest the events.
The Derek Chauvin case is a landmark case for police brutality against African Americans, and the guilty on all three counts verdict marks a significant victory for the activists who have pushed for policing reform.
The verdict means police will now be under increased scrutiny, say legal experts and could open the window for more to be prosecuted and convicted for wrongdoing. Analysts believe the case could bring about a new kind of policing – with more accountability and new policies overuse of force. For many people, the trial was a sign that the system works.
“It shows that police officers are not above the law,” says Jack Rice, a lawyer in the twin cities, Minneapolis and St Paul.
“It will impact future cases that come before the court. What is even more important, however, is that it will impact the behaviour of officers when they are performing on the street. It’s beyond the criminal case – it’s about what the officers do on a daily basis.”
News of the monumental verdict travelled fast. Activists were elated, others reserved. But for all, it was the end of a journey, the end of a trial that had the US and the world in its grip.
Many people spoken to for the article, had agreed the trial had transformed them but differed greatly in what that meant.
“We’re not trying to start a race war. We’re trying to end one.” – Activist
Despite the police chief and officers testifying against Chauvin, many in law enforcement sympathised with him.
Others were stunned as they had rarely seen police officers being held accountable and saw Chavin and the issues surrounding police, in a new light, the article adds.
The activists were happy about the verdict but also demanded justice in other cases.
“You know, we don’t stop here. We have to do the same for all the cops who are murdering people,” says activist Erika Atson. “This is a good win, but we’re not done winning.”
Derek Chauvin conviction is just the start of US debate on race and policing
Sky News says the impact of George Floyd’s killing was a once in a generation moment.
Despite having seen many acts of police brutality in the US, George Floyd’s death had a completely different effect. The mass outrage in the US and the international outcry – led to protesting spreading like wildfire across the world.
The reaction to Floyd’s death was fuelled by the power of social media and the many months of lockdowns and pandemic woes, according to the article.
But there was something universal about Floyd’s death that got people, in their millions, out onto the streets. They shared a sense of grievance with Floyd and his community.
The protest led to debate and soul searching, not only about racism but deeper questions about race and power.
The reaction made us look at the way society is structured and how it entrenches the power of some and marginalises others.
The effect of Floyd’s death led to corporations, pop culture, education and politics to also do some soul searching.
But in the US especially, many questioned how to stop police killings and whether police need fundamental reform. That debate is long overdue and only just the beginning, the article says.
America is use to seeing cops acquitted or not even charged, the President must steer the US towards meaningful change and reform on race and policing.
The article says President Joe Biden will need to heal a decided America after this divisive period.
Professor Elcott told Sky News that the wave of protests after George Floyd’s killing provoked a backlash that has only just started.
“The reality is the push back was just as equal. You had George Floyd and then you had an insurrection in the US that was essentially a white supremacist, Christian insurrection to defend the existing culture,” he said.
“We are only in the beginnings of this debate, only in the beginnings of this conflict.”
By bearing witness — and hitting ‘record’ — 17-year-old Darnella Frazier may have changed the world
The Washington Post says her motivations were simple enough. You could even call them pure.
Daniella Frazier was the 17-year-old who filmed George Floyd’s murder. This teenager’s sense of right or wrong, her moral core, made all the difference in this case.
Her footage was uploaded to Facebook and has now been seen millions of times globally. The clip was a powerful, irrefutable act of bearing witness. The video is 9 minutes 29 seconds and records Floyd’s final gasp and drawing his last breath under Derek Chavin’s knee.
According to legal analyst Sunny Hostin, the footage became “the star witness for the prosecution.”
“The strongest piece of evidence I have ever seen in a case against a police officer”
Frazier is soft-spoken and understated, according to the article. It says she’s not trying to draw any particular attention to herself. She may have been troubled by the experience but remains clear about what she witnessed.
On the witness stand she said:
“He was suffering. He was in pain. . . . It seemed like he knew it was over for him. . . . He was terrified.”
Frazier, like a lot of others who took the stand, could see Floyd in her own family members. She said they were her father, her uncle, her brother.
A few months ago, Frazier accepted an award from PEN America – the free-speech advocacy organisation. Filmmaker Spike Lee presented it to her noting the award was given to recognise courage. Screen legend Meryl Street offered kind words to her, amongst many others who have recognized her courage and quick thinking.
Derek Chauvin verdict
George Floyd: Crowd outside court reacts to Derek Chauvin guilty verdicts – BBC
Joe Biden says Derek Chauvin guilty verdict can be ‘moment of significant change’ – Sky News
Police fatally shoot black teenaged girl in Ohio as Chauvin verdict announced – ITV
Minneapolis hopes for new beginning after verdict: ‘George Floyd is a movement’ – The Guardian
George Floyd: the 9 minutes and 29 seconds that sparked a civil rights movement – The Telegraph
In life, George Floyd struggled to find his place. In death, everyone knows his name – The Telegraph
Derek Chauvin update
The jury has found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all the counts he faced over the death of George Floyd. The trial has been one of the most closely watched cases in recent memory, setting off a national reckoning on police violence and systemic racism even before the trial commenced.
Chauvin, 45, has been found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. – NPC
He is set to be sentenced in two months time, and the sentencing will be decided by the judge after Chauvin waived the jury’s right. He is facing up to 75 years.
George Floyd verdict Twitter
#Go directly to jail! Social media users celebrate Derek Chauvin’s conviction in the murder of George Floyd as #ROTINHELL trends on Twitter. – Daily Mail
Derek Chauvin wife
Derek Chauvin wife – Kelly Chavin – filed for divorce in the days after Floyd’s death.
Derek Chauvin’s beauty queen ex-wife filed for divorce from the convicted ex-cop days after George Floyd died in his custody.
Kellie May Xiong Chauvin, who was crowned Mrs. Minnesota in 2019, legally separated from Chauvin on May 28, 2020, three days after the fatal arrest, for which Chauvin was found guilty of murder Tuesday, according to the Independent.
On May 30, she filed for divorce in Stillwater, Minnesota, citing “an irretrievable breakdown.” The request was granted on Feb. 2, according to the outlet.
Kellie May’s lawyer said at the time she was “devastated” by Floyd’s death, and her “utmost sympathy lies with his family, with his loved ones and with everyone else who is grieving this tragedy.” – NY Post
Derek Chauvin killing George Floyd video
How George Floyd Was Killed in Police Custody
The Times has reconstructed the death of George Floyd on May 25. Security footage, witness videos and official documents show how a series of actions by officers turned fatal. (This video contains scenes of graphic violence.)