Derek Chauvin Trial Underway

The fourweek prosecution of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer responsible for the death of George Floyd in May of 2020, began March 31 

Floyd’s death last year caused a wave of Black Lives Matter and racial injustice protests, both nationally and internationally, over the summer. Chauvin is facing charges of manslaughter, second, and thirddegree murder. 

On the evening of May 25, 2020, police were called to a convenience store called Cup Foods in Minneapolis after a man allegedly used a counterfeit 20 dollar bill to buy cigarettes. Four officers, Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao arrived at the scene to detain Floyd. Floyd was supposedly acting intoxicated but never showed any signs of resisting force against any of the officers. 

Things got heated when Floyd refused to get into the police car, and he fell to the ground. Officer Derek Chauvin leaned his knee onto Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes while he was face down and exclaiming that he couldn’t breathe multiple times. Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck until he was no longer breathing or moving. Floyd died in police custody, and these officers violated police code by using excessive force against Floyd. 

Floyd’s death exposed the shortcomings within the United States justice and police system and made people realize the mistreatment and racism within them. Floyd’s death sparked outrage among many groups of people, making racial justice highly important when it came to social problems and the 2020 presidential election 

“I think the Black Lives Matter movement is very important when it comes to showing the corruption within the police system. It made me realize how unfairly Black people are treated in America,” said DMACC sophomore Gabby Hulsing.  

Three officers from the Minneapolis Police Department testified against Chauvin. They assessed the moments before Floyd went unconscious with Chauvin’s knee on his neck and the other officers applying pressure to his back. The longestserving police officer of the MPD called Chauvin’s actions “totally unnecessary” and “uncalled for. Other witnesses of Floyd’s arrest testified last week and explain the emotional scars it left on them.  

On April 7, a forensic scientist testified saying there was blood found in the cop car after Floyd’s arrest. Lead investigator James Reyerson also testified, changing his original statement that Floyd said he “ate too many drugs” to “I ain’t doing no drugs.”  

On Friday, April 9, another forensic scientist declared that Floyd’s official cause of death was  from asphyxia. The Hennepin county chief medical examiner was quoted saying, “In my opinion, the law enforcement’s subdual restraint and neck compression was just more than Mr. Floyd could take by virtue of those heart conditions.” Floyd had underlying health issues and had abused drugs prior to his death. 

Chauvin’s trial is being followed closely by news stations nationwide and advocates of the Black Lives Matter movement. The final verdict will be controversial, especially if Chauvin pleads not guilty. This trial is expected to conclude in the coming weeks after closing arguments 

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