Chauvin, Rookie Cops Sentenced in Floyd Murder

Minneapolis — Officials convicted ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who pleaded guilty of suffocating George Floyd by kneeling on his neck and back for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

Trial officials convicted Chauvin on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

Floyd, along with Breonna Taylor, were two African Americans murdered unjustly by police in America. 

According to CNN’s Omar Jimenez, the officers committed a crime of “deliberate indifference to [Floyd’s] serious medical needs.” 

Jimenez stated in his article that three less experienced officers accompanied Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd. 

Officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane were all charged with civil rights violations in the fatal incident. 

According to Eric Levenson of CNN, the graphic description of the incident was documented.

“Lane and Kueng were the first responding officers on the scene when the Cup Foods store called police about a man using a suspected fake $20 bill. The two officers then went to a vehicle with Floyd sitting in the driver’s seat. Lane pulled out his firearm and pointed it at Floyd, yelling at the 46-year-old Black man to show his hands, according to their body camera footage.

A video recording, according to Levenson, showed that the officers being chaperoned by Chauvin tried to pull the resistant Floyd toward the police vehicle to arrest him. Chauvin, without hesitation, dragged Floyd away from the vehicle and onto the ground.

Levenson reported that Chauvin put his knees on Floyd’s neck and back, as Lane held Floyd’s legs and Kueng held his torso. Floyd, with whatever breath he had in him, exclaimed “I can’t breathe” and called for his “mama.” He was held to the ground for approximately 9 minutes and 29 seconds, as the video recording portrayed. 

Lane suggested multiple times that they should roll Floyd onto his side, but Chauvin instructed as a senior officer to “staying put where we got him.” The officers allegedly murdered Floyd after Kueng checked for a pulse unsuccessfully after the supposed ‘arrest.’

According to Levenson, in addition to this relatively ‘minor’ charge, all three rookie police officers were convicted by state prosecutors of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

According to the census bureau of police killings, Taylor and Floyd were unfortunately not the only subjects to the main killer for African-American men — violence. In the 1,127 police killings recorded in 2020, only 16 of those cases — 1.4%, resulted in charges against those officers. Of the officers identified by Mapping Police Violence, at least 14 officers were guilty of shooting or killing someone in the past.

These police killings affect communities nationwide such as Poughkeepise, New York, where a teacher assigned students a prompt for an essay to assess the incident and come up with a verdict of Derek Chauvin by their own argument. 

Many parents and faculty questioned the assignment, including Sakinah Irizarry, a mother of two younger children in the same school district. She says she’s been advocating for diversity and inclusion within the district for several years and felt she should speak up as a Black mom of two children.

“There have been some calls saying, ‘People shouldn’t be having these discussions in school,’ and I’m like, schools are exactly where these discussions need to be had, but they need to be had in a constructive and forward-thinking way and absolutely not with lies,” Irizarry said. “When facts become up for debate, then we’ve really lost the focus of what all of us, the children, educators and community are there to do.”

These discussions revolving around violence against minority communities are necessary to discuss the actions needed to achieve justice.

Chabot Professor of Law and Paralegal studies, Cheryl Mackey, mentioned that despite the verdict of Chauvin being guilty, justice may not have reverberated throughout Floyd’s community. Black America is still debating on what real imprint the conviction of Chauvin might have on police departments across America and around the world.

Daniella Frazier recorded this event and discussed the anxiety she has from witnessing the traumatic death of Floyd. Frazier’s recording not only amassed a non-filtered perspective on the incident about the brutal and unforgiving behavior displayed by the Minneapolis police, but condensed the habitual targeting of the Black community and many other minorities by authority figures. 

This shows that not only is Black America a powerful community but a paradigm for justice worldwide and a powerful allocation of voices for reform from outside of the government.

“It’s been nights I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life,” Frazier said. 

Frazier added, seemingly referring to Mr. Chauvin, “But it’s like, it’s not what I should have done, it’s what he should have done.” This entails the excessive violence practiced by officers that is not regulated or controlled allowing them to not take responsibility for their actions. Protests have been calling for the reform of police and justice served for hate crimes by authority figures.

According to Eloy Oakley, Chancellor of California Community Colleges, California schools look to assimilate the intention of students statewide in California to reorganize the policing system. 

 “We have asked as part of the call to action, which was initiated after the murder of George Floyd, for all districts to review all their agreements with their police or security details and ensure we are taking steps to provide culturally relevant training to security and police.” Oakley said.

In a statement released on May 6, Oakley said, “Some have their own security, some have their own police.” He said it was up to the district to determine their relationship with police and to determine their own policing system explaining that students and faculty should, from now on, be included in consensus decisions when officiating and controlling the police system before dangerous incidents happen.

“We have asked as part of the call to action, which was initiated after the murder of George Floyd, for all districts to review all their agreements with their police or security details and ensure we are taking steps to provide culturally relevant training to security and police, we are opening up a dialogue with them, ensuring that our student leadership have access to police and security … to remove any policing practices that are either discriminatory in nature or can cause harm to anybody who was being detained.” Oakley said. 

A substantiation of police affairs is governed within an organized system, but the reform for better policing will begin with the voting of students, faculty and staff and not just internal decisions made by the board or even the campus officers themselves. 

Oakley said, “What we have asked from the Chancellor’s office is that every district review its policies and procedures and that we ensure that students, faculty and staff are at the table and that they have the ability to engage in a dialogue with the police and security officers to determine how policing and security is done at each campus.”

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