Derek Chauvin is a murderer. Derek Chauvin, former Minneapolis police officer, pressed the life out of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 by kneeling on the neck of George Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds. Darnella Frazier, 17-year old bystander, taped 8 minutes and 46 seconds of the action taken by Derek Chauvin that resulted in the death of George Floyd. Were it not for the courage of Darnella Frazier, the proof of what Derek Chauvin did would not have been exposed as soon as it was.
On April 20, 2021, a jury delivered a unanimous verdict of guilty on all counts making it official that Derek Chauvin is a murderer. Prosecutors under the leadership of Keith Ellison, Minnesota Attorney General, did their jobs well. They brought forth law enforcement officials, emergency medical professionals, eye witnesses to prove that the actions of Derek Chauvin led to the death of George Floyd. The initial story by law enforcement that George Floyd died due to a medical incident was exposed as a lie. The verdict confirms what we were able to see with our own eyes thanks to the courageousness of Darnella Frazier. In the months since May 2020, good people all over the world protested the obvious wrong of Derek Chauvin showing callous disregard for the life of George Floyd. Derek Chauvin disgraced himself and made us all aware that an encounter with law enforcement could be deadly. Numerous incidents reveal being Black and Brown increases the danger in an encounter with law enforcement.
The jury verdict declaring Derek Chauvin guilty of murder is a start in getting the accountability we should demand from law enforcement who take an oath to “serve and protect”. Derek Chauvin along with his fellow officers failed to live up to their sworn oath. The conviction of Derek Chauvin should send a clear message to all law enforcement that they should expect to be held accountable for their actions that harm or cause the death of someone in their custody.
Within eight weeks Derek Chauvin will be sentenced for his crime of murdering George Floyd. His fellow officers who stood by and did nothing could be tried in a few months. Gaining full accountability has not been achieved yet. We must press on so police officers know they have a duty to intervene when a fellow officer is acting in a manner that is endangering the life and health of persons in their custody.
How do we advance towards equal justice? The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act must be passed. The US Senate is dysfunctional. The minority faction led by Mitch McConnell is exposing the systemic racism that continues to cause death after death of Black and Brown boys, girls, men and women. The question is, “What side are you on?”
Southern Anti-Racism Network is calling on people of good will to choose. Choose to call your US Senate representatives and demand they pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
Theresa El-Amin, Board Chair, Southern Anti-Racism Network, 762-821-1107 or firstname.lastname@example.org