The jury of Minneapolis took 10 hours on Tuesday before they declared Derek Chauvin, an ex-police officer, guilty of third-degree murder, second-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for killing George Floyd. March, however, saw many police shootings as well including the death of Adam Toledo and Daunte Wright. A few minutes prior to the verdict being announced, Columbus police officers in OH shot Ma’Khia Bryant four times and killed her.
A lot of people had mixed emotions with regards to the result of this trial. Brittany Packnett Cunningham who is the co-founder of Campaign Zero and an activist tweeted, “The very least George’s family deserved was the accountability the system allows. I am holding them close. ‘Cause justice is them hugging their George. And nothing else. Dismantle the system that killed him.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez held an Instagram Live where she said, “This verdict is not justice. Frankly, I don’t even think we call it full accountability because there are multiple officers that were there. Wasn’t just Derek Chauvin. And I don’t want this moment to be framed as the system working, because it’s not working.”
The system usually protects police officers such as Derek. Very rarely are cops charged with monetary reparations or federal charges. They rarely lose their jobs when they shoot brown and black people. The Washington Post compiled a database that says over 1,000 people are shot by the police every year. Mapping Police Violence is a group that keeps a track of all encounters by the police that are deadly in nature. As per their data, 6.800 people who were civilians have been murdered by the police from 2013 to 2018. March 29 saw the beginning of Derek’s trial and the cops have killed around 64 Americans mostly Latinx and Black people since then.
As per The New York Times, Philip M. Stinson who is a criminal justice professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio compiled data that says since 2005, 121 police officers have been charged with manslaughter or murder charges for murdering someone on-duty. Out of these officers, 95 cases were concluded and 44 saw convictions. As per this report, only four officers saw murder convictions.
This means that to begin with very few officers are arrested for manslaughter or murder, and out of those only one-third see convictions.
Kate Levine who is a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York shared with The New York Times that “Police know what to say and what to tell a jury and what to tell a judge to make those folks believe that they were reasonably in fear. Even if there are other witnesses, those witnesses just don’t get the same amount of credibility determination from prosecutors, judges, juries.”
President Biden said while addressing the country, “The guilty verdict does not bring back George Floyd. But through the family’s pain, they are finding a purpose to George’s legacy will not be just about his death, but about what we must do in his memory.”