Column: Chauvin verdict a landmark moment

Destiny Blanchard

On May 25th, 2020, George Floyd was murdered. We all remember the video or at least know what happened during it. The police were called over an allegedly counterfeit $20 bill, and this resulted in officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds while he gasped for air, all up until the moment he died. A video of this encounter was shared and resulted in a worldwide outpour in protest against police brutality and an outcry that clearly stated: Black Lives Matter.

We’ve neared the end of the trial of Derek Chauvin and the jury has read the guilty verdict. I believe this verdict will lead to a momentous change in the history of our judicial system after years of injustice. Derek Chauvin being sent to jail will be one of few instances of prosecution of a police officer in this country. Despite the fact that we know of numerous instances of police brutality – particularly against Black people – these officers more often than not don’t face charges, let alone a trial.

Derek Chauvin has faced three charges with different possible sentences. These charges include second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The maximum sentences for these charges include 40 years for second-degree unintentional murder, 25 years for third-degree murder and 10 years for second-degree manslaughter. He’s been convicted of all of these charges.

I think part of me expected the outcome to be the same as it always has been. I expected for Derek Chauvin to be another George Zimmerman, the officer who was acquitted after murdering 17 year-old Trayvon Martin. I, like many other African Americans, have little faith in our country’s ability to protect and provide justice for us, for good reason. After so many instances of disappointment in law enforcement and in our judicial system, the verdict reached today represents a justice in Black America that we’ve been fighting for decades to get.

After this day I hope that we will continue to see justice. The killings of so many of our people, including Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Abery and Daunte Wright, has left us with feelings of sorrow and helplessness.

I think that after the summer filled with protests, and the verdict set from this trial, all of America will begin to see what we’ve been fighting so hard for. I believe more will join us in this fight, and one day we will finally rest.

 

Destiny Blanchard is a junior management major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]