Derek Chauvin, a former cop of Minneapolis killed George Floyd in May, last year. Floyd was 46 and unarmed when Derek kneeled on the back of his neck for more than nine minutes. Now, almost a year after this incident, Derek has been declared guilty of three different counts of murder and manslaughter. He is facing 40 years in prison. Many people are celebrating this verdict however after fighting for decades against brutality by the police, it is vital to remember that this is only accountability, not justice.
Derek’s trial started many weeks ago, since then cops have murdered 64 Americans who were mostly Latino and Black. 20 minutes prior to the verdict being announced for Derek Chauvin, cops in Columbus, OH killed a teenager who was 16, Ma’Khia Bryant who had called them for help. Last month. a few miles away from where Floyd was killed by Derek, a police office murdered Daunte Wright.
In 2014, Darren Wilson was not charged when he had murdered Michael Brown. None of the officers that shot Breonna Taylor in her own home in Louisville were charged. They were disemployed but not charged.
Derek Chauvin was sentenced after various videos and testimonies were shared by 45 witnesses and experts. The verdict is a win but the system has still not changed. Police are still shooting and killing Brown and Black people.
Many people celebrated post the verdict’s announcement. President Biden said the verdict is “a giant step forward in the march toward justice in America.” Nancy Pelosi who is the House Speaker made a statement saying she was grateful to Floyd for “sacrificing [his] life for justice.” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said, “I would not call today’s verdict justice, because justice implies restoration.”
Missouri Rep. Cori Bush shared in a statement, “This trial has always been about one police officer in a corrupt and violent system that continues to disproportionately target Black and brown people. We’ve all been forced to grapple with the question: What is justice? Because our criminal-legal system is not a just system — it’s a violent and oppressive one.”
Derek Chauvin has been held accountable, but that does not mean that each and every police officer that shoots and kills unnecessarily will be charged and sentenced. A police officer is rarely convicted for shooting anyone in this country. Most of the experts had claimed that there is a huge chance that Derek will not be found guilty.
The carceral system and the police officers in this country have violent and racist connections, which must be acknowledged. A lot of abolitionists and activists that have been trying to defund, reform and abolish the police force do not believe this conviction to be a sign of progress as it took place under the same system that made it possible for Derek to murder Geroge Floyd.
Mark Martinez who is State Senate Staffer, a lawyer in Boston and an abolitionist tweeted, “I’m glad George’s family got what they want but am not looking forward to people using this verdict to pretend that progress has been made or that this system is redeemable. The system that killed George Floyd can never bring him justice. The only justice is abolition.”