A year after the tragedy of George Floyd, Minneapolis is faced with more unease as the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who allegedly killed Mr. Floyd, comes to its final deliberation stages and gets closer to a verdict. The defense argues that Mr. Floyd died of a heart attack that was triggered by Mr. Floyd’s drug use; however, the people of Minneapolis and America, seem to favor the prosecution, since many individuals and witnesses claim that George Floyd was unmistakably killed by Derek Chauvin’s kneeling on his trachea for a little more than nine minutes, rendering him unable to breathe.
As the jury is still out on Mr. Chauvin’s case, the city council of Minneapolis is making preparations for a possible city protest that will depend on the court’s decision; such measures include canceling in-person classes from Wednesday the 21st through Friday the 23rd. Other local businesses such as convenience markets and stores have enforced their security measures by installing stronger window barricades alongside re-booted security cameras, all due to this upcoming week’s judicial proceedings’ consequences.
This anticipated precaution revolving around Derek Chauvin’s case arose fear for the citizens and local business owners since violence rates spiked across Minneapolis’ metropolitan area. This spike happened due to the death of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old that was accidentally killed by a police officer that mistook his gun for a taser, which instigated violent protest and responses in the suburbs of metropolitan Minneapolis.
One of the main legal controversies that appear in Mr. Chauvin’s case is the fact that the prosecution is mostly leaning on video evidence from the protests; the witnesses who provided their digital content and therefore, the cases’ main source of evidence, claim that there should be no debate or doubt over the fact that Derek Chauvin used excessive force that eventually caused Mr. Floyd’s horrible death by asphyxiation. However, Eric Nelson, the leading attorney for the defense, argues that there is clear medical evidence that George Floyd died of cardiac arrhythmia and not of police brutality; Mr. Nelson argues that “the jury should consider the whole bundle of evidence that goes far beyond nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds”. The court is still evaluating the video-based evidence alongside medical testimonies of forensic doctors, who are presenting opposing expert opinions on what was the definite cause of Mr. Floyd’s death.
Finally, I would like to add that even if Derek Chauvin is found not guilty, it is important for us to fully grasp the social and political impact that this case is having on the country’s judicial aspect. The social mobilization we are observing albeit Covid-19, and a year after Mr. Floyd’s incident, confirms the notion that there is still a semblance of hope that unites Minneapolis and America, and this unity can be interpreted as a sign of a more wholesome and just society moving forward, which will hopefully be translated into America’s future revision of its legal system.