- Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder in the killing of George Floyd, the man behind the “I can’t breathe” protests
- The case was very controversial since it involved a white police officer and a black victim
- It ignited hundreds of protest actions across the United States and highlighted once more the topic of racial inequality in the country
- With Chauvin’s conviction, many hope that the turbulent chapter will finally be closed
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd has been handed a guilty verdict by the court.
In what many say is a rare conviction, the court found the ex-cop guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree mánslaughter, CNN reported.
Among the evidence presented in court is the video taken by bystanders where Floyd can be heard pleading for the police officer to take his knee off his neck as he find it hard to breathe.
Despite his pleas, Chauvin continued to press his knee on the neck of Floyd for more than nine minutes, BBC reported. The jury deliberated for approximately 10 hours before coming out with the verdict.
While the sentencing guidelines in Minnesota states that second-degree murder carries a penalty of 12 and a half years of jail time, prosecutors made it clear they want the maximum penalty of 40 years.
Attorneys for the Floyd family released a statement after the verdict was released.
“Painfully earned justice has arrived for George Floyd’s family and the community here in Minneapolis, but today’s verdict goes far beyond this city and has significant implications for the country and even the world,” the attorneys stated in a Buzzfeed report.
“Justice for Black America is justice for all of America. This case is a turning point in American history for accountability of law enforcement and sends a clear message we hope is heard clearly in every city and every state,” the statement added.
Most Americans attribute the “I can’t breathe” slogan to George Floyd, who died after a police officer pressed his knee on the Floyd’s neck, shutting off his airways. However, the phrase actually originated from an earlier case, the one involving Eric Garner, an unarmed man who was killed in 2014 after being put in a chokehold by a New York City Police Officer. A number of other Black Americans, such as Javier Ambler, Manuel Ellis, Elijah McClain, and George Floyd, have said the same phrase prior to dying during similar law-enforcement encounters. In a 2020 report by the New York Times, the phrase has been used by over 70 people who died in police custody.
Previously, authorities released to the public the autopsy report of George Floyd. According to the coroner’s report, Floyd tested positive for the coronavirus disease or COVID-19 in April. However, it reportedly did not play a role to Floyd’s controversial death. Charges have already been filed against Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and three other officers involved in the incident.
Months later, a similar circumstance occurred, this time with a 30-year-old Filipino-American, who was reportedly a Navy veteran undergoing a mental health crisis. Like Floyd, he also died after a policeman knelt on his neck. This was the claim made by his family who witnessed the incident, saying that the victim was even saying “Please don't kill me.” According to the mother, they called 911 when Angelo was starting to act erratically on Dec. 23. When they arrived, Quinto was on the floor with his mom, and they flipped him to his stomach and one knelt on his neck until he became unresponsive.
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