On Tuesday, Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three charges for the murder of George Floyd last year.
The prosecution argued that George Floyd died as a direct result of Chauvin’s physical actions– Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck caused low oxygen levels which led to a brain injury and arrhythmia, which caused his heart to stop. “He did what he did on purpose, and it killed George Floyd,” said prosecutor Steve Schleicher.
The testimony included both complex medical and forensic pathology evidence, as well as deep emotional stands– including from Darnella, the young woman who took the video of Chauvin killing Floyd, as well as bystander Charles McMillan.
Chauvin’s sentencing trial will be in about eight weeks. Until then, he will wait in a correctional facility in Minnesota.
In the same evening as Chauvin’s conviction, police in Columbus, Ohio killed Ma’Khia Bryant, a 15-year-old Black child. Paula Bryant, her mother, said that Ma’Khia had called the police for help because people were fighting outside her house. Police shot her four times.
Feminist Majority Foundation unequivocally supports the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021, which we see as an important step in ending police brutality. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act addresses a wide range of policies and issues regarding law enforcement accountability and policing practices.
The Act would ban chokeholds, limit qualified immunity, lower the criminal intent standard to convict a law enforcement officer for misconduct, and authorizes the Department of Justice to issue subpoenas in investigations of police departments for a practice of discrimination. The Act would also establish a national registry to compile data on police misconduct records. It has passed in the U.S. House, with all but two Democrats voting in favor and all but one Republicans voting against. It is currently pending a vote in the Senate.
Daneille Atkinson, founder and executive director of Mothering Justice, said in a statement: “Today’s verdict is a step on the path to justice. We hope that George Floyd’s family can take solace in knowing that his killer has been held to account. But we know that Black people in Minnesota and across the country continue to be persecuted and subject to brutal, deadly police violence.
“Over the three weeks Chauvin stood trial alone, more than three people per day were killed at the hands of police. One trial, one verdict will not fix the criminal legal system, which is built on white supremacy. One cop held to account will not stop the legions of police and law enforcement officers across the country from continuing to persecute and kill Black people.
“But this trial and verdict is a sign of progress because of the activism and bravery of the movement for justice. We stand with the family of George Floyd and we continue to fight for justice for all people — especially people of color — murdered by the people sworn to protect us.
“Tonight, we celebrate progress. Tomorrow, we continue our work to end white supremacy by renewing our calls to defund the police and invest in schools — not jails because Black lives truly do matter.”
Sources: CNN 4/21/21; NPR 4/20/21; WBNS 4/21/21; Mothering Justice 4/21/21; New York Times 4/21/21