Derek Chauvin Found Guilty of All Charges
History was made in Minneapolis, MN on Apr. 20, 2021, when former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty in the murder of the innocent George Floyd. Nearly a year after Floyd’s murder, Chauvin was found guilty of all three charges. Chauvin was charged with second-degree manslaughter, second-degree murder, and third-degree murder. He could face up to 75 years in prison, but, according to NBC, is likely to only serve 40, due to the fact that in Minnesota, these sentences will probably be concurrent. The verdict was delivered, and subsequently, Chauvin was escorted to the Oak Park Heights state prison.
This verdict is considered by many to be a game-changer, a historical feat for the Black community. However, Chauvin’s guilty verdict is also being considered an ‘exception’ by many across the country. In an article by NBC, every aspect of Floyd’s murder and everything that relating to it (the nationwide protests, the recording of the murder, the verdict, etc.) was exceptional. In fact, during the trial, at least 64 Black and Latino lives were taken at the hands of police officers — but will these officers be convicted?
Across the internet — particularly social media — there is an ongoing dispute regarding whether or not the verdict can be considered as justice or mere accountability. Furthermore, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi is coming under fire across social media for a Twitter post she made on Tuesday in response to the verdict. While in support of the guilty verdict, Pelosi is being criticized for the wording of her post, which claims that George Floyd ‘sacrificed’ his life ‘for justice.’ Pelosi’s use of the word ‘sacrifice’ has been criticized because it is regarded as glorifying the case, as well as ignoring the fact that Floyd was, in fact, murdered.
The Round Table reached out to sophomore student, Mezekerta Tesfay, for her take on the guilty verdict and what it could mean for the future. Tesfay was (and still is) incredibly involved with the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as the circulation of petitions and fundraisers in support of families who lost loved ones to police violence. “I don’t have much of an opinion on what Chauvin was charged with. I am waiting to see what his sentencing looks like — that will be very telling,” wrote Tesfay in an email. Tesfay’s opinion is not unique — nationally, there is a doubt that Chauvin’s sentencing will be too light.
Furthermore, Tesfay went on to say that despite the guilty verdict, “…black people and POC are coping right now…” and that white allies should be “thinking critically” and supporting their POC peers — specifically their Black peers. When the Round Table reached out to Black Students United for a statement, we received no response. Tesfay, who is involved with BSU, told us that when she asked BSU for a statement, the group agreed that “….BSU shouldn’t be turned to for a statement right now — they need to take a breath.” BSU will, on Monday, April 26th, be hosting a march in honor of those lost to police violence. The march will begin at Pearson’s Quad at 6pm and will end at the Hendrick’s Center.
As we as a country move forward, it is important that we continue to stand with one another and support POC who may be coping. To all of my fellow POC — it is perfectly fine to take a break from social media, to be sick and tired, to need some support. As for POC on campus, please know that there are plenty of people who support us. Please, take a break this week. Care for yourself. Breathe.