Derek Chauvin: Accountability, Not Victory

On April 20th, Derek Chauvin was found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third- degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He had been accused of murdering George Floyd on May 25th after he reportedly knelt on his neck for over nine minutes. 

 

The jury spent just 10 hours deliberating after hearing testimonies from witnesses and seeing visual evidence over fifteen days. A judge remanded Chauvin in custody after his bail was revoked and an officer quickly cuffed Chauvin to escort him out of the courtroom. Chauvin will remain in jail until his sentencing hearing in two months. Chauvin and his attorney are expected to appeal the verdict in the coming weeks.

 

Supporters of George Floyd and his family were seen shouting joyously as the verdicts were read to the court by the judge. Many people are praising the jury and their decisions, but some are taking this with a grain of salt.

 

According to a database collected by Washington Post, 1,504 black people have been fatally shot and killed by police in America since 2015. 60 of these have occurred in 2021. Many of these killings go unnoticed, uncared for and without conviction. This was one of the many reasons why the Black Lives Matter movement gained so much momentum in such a short time last year. 

 

The movement began to grow last year after Floyd’s passing, as people were outraged with the disregard for black lives all over the country. This was a stepping stone for change not just in America but worldwide.

 

This change will not come without transparency and honesty from governments. The aforementioned grain of salt is the fact that the conviction of one police officer is not complete victory when most of the black people murdered by police officers in the past five years died without justice being served as many of the charges end up being dropped or cases dismissed.

 

Supporters are calling for change where it matters, in the legislature and for reformation of police departments all over America. So far, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act drafted by Democrats has been brought before the House of Representatives and passed the house with a 220-212 vote. It has yet to have been voted upon by the Senate.

 

It is clear that there is a long way to go. This conviction is a step towards permanent change in legislature and policing in America. But for now, it is a miniscule victory and proof that accountability is the first step towards reform.