20 April: After a three-week long trial, the jury found Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer guilty for the murder of George Floyd. Derek Chauvin was filmed kneeling on the neck of Mr Floyd, an african american citizen, for more than 9 minutes in May of 2020 and the incident was the spark of one of the largest recent anti-racists movements in the United States and the world. George Floyd’s last words, “I can’t breathe” became a significant statement that was hailed by the BLM movement as a testament to the police brutality and racism faced by black people.
The conviction of Chauvin is being hailed as a watershed moment of justice, especially considering how it is rare for any police officer to be charged for killing African-Americans in the US. The leaders of the US including President Biden and Vice President Harris have appreciated the judgement and stated that this was just the beginning of countering racial injustice in the country.
The verdict brought some solace to activists for racial justice who had been riveted to the courtroom drama for the past several weeks. However, several rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union believe that though this verdict brings justice and hope, the systems that allowed Mr Floyd’s murder and which continues to target people of colour still needs to undergo major changes. This sentiment stood true due to the fact that Black killings by the police continued even during the wake of Chauvin’s conviction including the recent shooting death of Daunte Wright in a Minneapolis suburb. Thus, while justice has been served in George Floyd’s case, significant systemic changes are needed in the US as well as other countries in the world to ensure equality and justice for all.
Photo credit; https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/20/us/george-floyd-protests-police-reform.html