The case following the alleged murder of George Floyd has come to a conclusion
It was the case to end all cases, a year’s worth of justice wrapped up into a few short weeks of testimony and a few short hours of jury deliberation. All of us remember the chaotic mixture of feelings that welled up inside of us last year, in May of 2020, when we watched the video that appeared to show the murder of an unarmed black man under the knee of a police officer named Derek Chauvin. We all now know that man’s name is George Floyd.
It was horrific to watch. It seemed to anyone that this was the most undeniable case of police brutality and murder since Rodney King.
In the immediate aftermath, protests swept the country under the banner of Black Lives Matter, with crowds turning up in downtown city centers the nation over.
The following day after the video was uploaded, the protests in downtown Minneapolis were met with even more force from police. It was insane. The police were countering anti-police brutality protests with police brutality, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Buffalo, New York; from Los Angeles, California to Seattle, Washington.
The defense came out swinging with several eye-witnesses who watched the incident take place. They started with Jena Scurry, the police dispatch operator who called the police on the police, noting that something seemed very wrong from all the way back at the station. It’s a rare moment when a police dispatcher calls the police on other police officers.
Then there was Alisha Oyler, a gas station worker across the street who witnessed the events and took video.
Then there was the memorable voice of the video we all know as the official George Floyd video, the one that sparked the protests last year that went on into the summertime. Donald Williams’ voice can be heard calling the police bums for pinning George Floyd underneath the knees of Derek Chauvin, as officer Chauvin. A mixed martial artist, Williams told the officers over and over and over again that they were killing Floyd.
The trial then featured the kids, minors who took the video and also witnessed the death of Floyd. This was a particularly compelling day of testimony, as kids don’t hold back and just give it to you straight.
Then there was Genevieve Hansen, an off-duty firefighter witness to the events who offered to give George Floyd aid while he was on the ground, but was denied by the officers. Mr. Chauvin even threatened to pepper spray the bystanders at one point.
From there, we moved to specialists, as the defense and prosecution took turns trading licks, with an overwhelming amount of proverbial punches being landed by the prosecution.
Police said the type of hold used wasn’t department policy. Even Mr. Chauvin’s training officer agreed.
And the medical professionals reiterated over and over again that Mr. Floyd died of asphyxiation from neck compression, not the drugs in his system nor a spontaneous heart attack.
In a last-ditch effort to save the day, the defense argued that Mr. Floyd may have died, in part, from the exhaust fumes expelled from the police car next to him, as he remained pinned under Derek Chauvin’s knee for nine and a half minutes.
Nine and a half minutes. That’s a very long time to pin a handcuffed man underneath your knee as he begs for his life.
The case should’ve been obvious all along. The defense even asked us to believe what we saw with our own eyes. They hoped we wouldn’t overcomplicate things. And now, we have a verdict.
Derek Chauvin is found guilty on all three counts. Murder, manslaughter, and more.
Whatever happens from here, is on us. This moment has crystallized the feelings of Americans all over, that police brutality is a crisis in our nation that needs to be addressed. But there’s still a long way to go.
Think about what it took us to get here. Not the countless other, similar cases where civilians died at the hands of police, some of which unfolded before our very eyes on video. Not the countless anonymous men and women who’ve been brutalized at the hands of police, people who survived with scars physically and mentally, yet did not die and their stories were never heard.
This moment marks a moment of fruition, where we may begin to charter a new course of justice, integrity, and from this point, we may reshape the way we police our streets in America.
*Photo: Mural showing the portrait of George Floyd in Mauerpark in Berlin. To the left of the portrait the lettering "I can't Breathe" was added, on the right side the three hashtags #GeorgeFloyd, #Icantbreathe and #Sayhisname. The mural was completed by Eme Street Art (facebook name) / Eme Free Thinker (signature) on 29 May 2020. Singlespeedfahrer - Own work/Wikimedia Commons