On May 25, 2020, a video was shared that rocked the world. In the video, police officer Derek Chauvin could be seen kneeling on the neck of a man by the name of George Floyd. The incident occured in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the video lasted 9 minutes and 29 seconds. The police had been called after Floyd had given a store clerk a $20 bill that had been thought of to be counterfeit. Floyd died shortly after the EMTs came to check on him, creating a wave of anger and passion in crowds all across the world. There was concern about the position Floyd spent his last minutes in, but also about whether Chauvin was using a form of restraint that was taught in training and confirmed to be safe by the police training academy. Due to the large following and spotlight, the trial quickly started up and attorney and jury members were selected. After months of evidence and hearings, the verdict was finally met on Apr. 20, 2021. Derek Chauvin was convicted of second degree murder, third degree murder, manslaughter. As a result, he was sentenced to around 40 years in prison.
While the jury was making their decision, crowds were waiting outsides along with viewers at home on their televisions. Due to the length of the trial, even those who may have pushed the incident to the back of their mind were reminded again as every news channel moved their focus to the final decision. Even President Biden had planned to speak after the verdict was delivered. The Floyd family was also waiting in hope of getting justice for G. Floyd.
“I did follow it somewhat,” junior Abby Hugill said. “I think it was the correct verdict but it’s really disheartening knowing this isn’t how it goes for a lot of African American victims of police brutality and they don’t get the justice they deserve.
Benjamin Crump, the lead attorney for the Floyd family, gained publicity after the trial not only because he was able to fight for the family, but also because of his involvement in many other civil rights cases. Crump stayed humble and asked for all people to take notice of this time in history. Besides the Floyd case, Crump has also taken on the cases involving the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.
Despite the tragedy and horror that came with the George Floyd case, the incident and verdict were broadcast on channels like NBC, CBS, CNN and numerous others to the public.
“I’m heartened by the decision, but we have a long way to go to achieve true justice in our society,” English teacher and Spectrum Club sponsor Lee Norment said. “I’m hopeful that this will spark some further legislation and re-structuring of police forces so that they can better protect and serve our communities.”
Although the trial went on for quite a while and numerous other events happened in the background, the decision was finally met and justice was served.
“I thought it was definitely a good thing and a step forward that not only was he found guilty but he wasn’t given the minimum sentencing that he could have gotten for the crime,” junior Gabrielle Rolle said. “I think some positive will come from it because now people can see that sometimes they can get the verdict and sentencing correct but there’s going to need to be more outcomes like this for any real change to come to the whole system. But I feel like this was definitely a win in the grand scheme of things.”