By Alex Flores
On April 20, 2021, a measure of accountability was served in America when former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all 3 charges in the death of George Floyd by a jury that was a reflection of America.
Like so many Americans we watched for 9 minutes and 29 seconds in horror last summer as Mr. Floyd was murdered in front of over a dozen eyewitnesses, including a 9-year-old. Chauvin’s knee was on his neck as he laid handcuffed on the pavement, pleading for his life. At one point, Chauvin’s knee pressed so hard that his foot came off the ground.
“I can’t breathe,” Floyd said, words that have since resonated around the world as a symbol of racism and police brutality.
George Floyd died that day. And a piece of our country’s humanity died with him… because of Derek Chauvin, and his fellow officers who were unwilling to save Mr. Floyd’s life.
“The blatant disregard for the taking of the life of one human being by another, shown by white police officer Chauvin to George Floyd, a black man, is not acceptable,” said HCDP Chair Alester Pryor.
“Justice implies true restoration, but what the conviction of Chauvin is accountability which is the first step towards justice. Yesterday’s jury verdict should not be mistaken as an end to the trial, or the fight for justice. The verdict was a small battle victory in the war against white police officers killing unarmed black and brown men and women, and put us on a road to the end of systemic racism and racial inequality here in America,” she said.
Convicting Derek Chauvin is only one part of the justice equation. When Judge Peter Cahill hands down the punishment in a few weeks at the sentencing hearing our justice system will have another opportunity to either show the country and world, that this trial is in fact, a step towards equality or simply another disappointing example of the United States’ two justice system: one for white people and law enforcement, the other for people of color.
Justice was served, yes. But it took nationwide, and global protests for it to happen. It took the State Attorney General Keith Allison’s willingness to push for criminal charges, and prosecutors spending enormous amounts of time preparing a case that they weren’t sure they’d win… despite VIDEO EVIDENCE. It took nearly a year for a white police officer to get convicted of a murder millions of people saw him commit.
“We will see what comes next,” said Pryor. “We pray for an end to the systemic racism that continues to pervade American society. As President Biden noted: “It is not just a ‘people of color’ problem, but an American problem”. And let’s remember that the joy of the Chauvin conviction exhibited by many across America and the world, is not about being anti-police, it’s about having bad police officers who kill being held accountable.”
“We will not know true justice until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”