‘This isn’t justice; this is accountability.’

Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of murdering George Floyd. Almost a year ago, videos emerged of George Floyd crying out for help as he was pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer. Floyd died soon after the incident, resulting in weeks of protests, initially in Minnesota but extending worldwide. For a couple of weeks, the oppression of African Americans was present within the minds of all people. The response varied from peaceful protest to brutal violence and everything in-between; however, a unified sense of the need for change was felt.  

Chauvin was convicted today of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The reason for his conviction of each of these different counts is outlined below:

Second-degree murder: The jury needed to be convinced that Chauvin unintentionally killed George Floyd while committing or trying to commit another crime, in this case, assault in the third degree.

Third-degree murder – The jury had to believe he acted in an eminently dangerous way, with reckless disregard towards human life when he killed George Floyd.

Second-degree manslaughter: The jury had to find that he was culpably negligent in causing George Floyd’s death.

Sentencing will now occur in 8 weeks to determine how long Chauvin will spend behind bars. It is difficult to estimate the sentence that will be handed down by the judge considering the lack of a prior criminal history contrasting the aggravating factors of the crime.

Regardless, today’s decision is a defining moment in the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s immensely disappointing that this movement has now been generalised by society as having a violent nature when its beginnings focused solely upon the advancement of rights for African Americans. The movement aims to pursue equality for all people, and this judgment is an important step forward in achieving this goal.

There are now real consequences for the use of excessive force, which is a vital factor in rebuilding the trust between communities and the police. There must be accountability for actions, and for so long, African American communities have been failed by the justice system. The lack of punishment and investigation has left an enormous divide within many societies, which has only exacerbated the problem.

Police officers ought to be held to the same standards as everyone else. Chauvin represents the failure of the system. He symbolises the broken system that continues to result in the loss of innocent lives. Only when the system changes will people like Chauvin no longer hold enforcement powers within society.

Accountability has occurred today. But, there is still a long way to go before justice is achieved. We must not be too quick to celebrate, as the ultimate goal has not been achieved. Today is a step forward, and we must use the momentum to further push us in the right direction.

10 thoughts on “Derek Chauvin Guilty

  1. Your assessment is spot-on, my friend. Today was a small step forward, and it is my hope that this case will set a precedent for future cases, such as the police officer who shot and killed a 13-year-old Black girl in Columbus just minutes before the Chauvin verdict was handed down. But, we have a long road ahead to conquer the racism that has existed for decades in some of our police departments.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jill, good to hear from you and thank you for your comment! It is definitely a step forward, but there are many steps that must continue to be taken into the future, before true justice occurs. In America and your community, did you get the sense that people supported the decision?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes, overall there was great relief at the verdict here. For one thing, there would have been blood shed in the streets if he had been found innocent, but more importantly, I think we as a nation are finally waking up to the blatant racism that exists in so many of our police departments and most of us hate it. That said, of course there is a small but vocal right-wing element that supported Chauvin, but it is very small.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, that is something I didn’t properly consider leading up to the trial – the response that would have occurred if he was found innocent. I’m very glad that didn’t occur, as the contrasting responses to the original incident inadvertently raised problems that didn’t really exist. People used the violence of African-American communities in their protests as some sort of excuse to not consider why they were actually protesting in the first place. I hope change can be built off the momentum of this judgement

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The video of the cop kneeling on George Floyd’s neck has been circulated on tv news and the internet daily for the past year, and this, more than any of the cases that came before, has triggered outrage not only among Blacks, but among all people of conscience. Minneapolis, the city where it took place, was prepared for the worst, having boarded up shop windows and closed schools in anticipation of the response if he had been found innocent. We are tired of this happening over and over and over, and we want accountability, we want police reform … and we’ll fight to get it if we have to. Fortunately, the bullet was dodged this time, but there are more to come.

        In truth, most all of the Black Lives Matter protests around the country in the past few years have been peaceful … it’s only when agitators are sent in to stir up violence that the peace is shattered. Sadly, last year our own government sent in the agitators in too many cases. Thanks, Simeon … I hope so too, I really do.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Absolutely, I think that was the key difference in this event. The extent of people who were impacted and disgusted by what took place that day in Minneapolis. It even extended around the world, and highlighted other injustices (like riots in Australia regarding police violence against Aboriginal’s in custody).

        Continue to fight! There’s a new generation joining in who are informed and passionate about creating change. I hope these movements can utilise the youth and political leaders can acknowledge the voice of the youth. We are determined for change to occur.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for inviting me to your blog. The time it took to write out this excellent post is appreciated. The generalized judgment you see regarding BLM protests being violent all the time, by all those protesting, is a good indication for how deep racism runs. Those that promote such generalization have a different view of the riot on the Capitol where law enforcement officers were brutalized, and federal property damaged. It’s that type of hypocrisy that causes division in the U.S.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Xena, thank you very much for your comment! You make a very interesting and insightful point. That difference in opinion or perspective on the BLM movement has had detrimental impacts on the movement, but has also demonstrated how ingrained racism is within many communities. It’s hard to lay the blame for this on the BLM movement; however, could lie in the inaccurate and hyper-graphic reporting by the media. When 9/11 occurred, the fear towards Muslims was exacerbated by media reporting which was often incorrect and bias against the Middle East. I fear a similar situation is occurring now.

      Liked by 2 people

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