Chauvin Found Guilty


Rachel Lief, Reporter, Junior

In May of 2020, police officer Derrick Chauvin murdered George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for over nine minutes as Floyd audibly struggled to breathe. Footage of the murder was released to the public, igniting a series of protests, which demanded for the people who murdered Floyd to be held accountable for their actions and for change to be made in regards to systemic racism and police brutality. Following his crime, Chauvin was initially charged with third degree murder and second degree manslaughter, yet was released in October of 2020 on a $1 million bond. The three police officers who were complicit in Chauvin’s brutality were charged with “aiding and abbetting second degree murder and aiding and abbetting second degree manslaughter” according to CNN.

The Derrick Chauvin trial was conducted from March to April of 2021 and convicted Chauvin of second degree murder, second degree manslaughter, and third degree murder. The completion of the trial allows for sentencing to take place, which will determine the duration of Chauvin’s prison sentence that will take effect in June. His sentence will take into account his second degree murder conviction and the beliefs of prosecutors regarding what punishments the crime calls for.

Chauvin and the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) which he worked for have had a slew of allegations of violence within the past two decades. Campaign Zero determined that the rate of police killings by the MPD has been more than thirteen times higher for Black people in comparison to white people. During his time working for the Minneapolis Police Department, Chauvin received a total of eighteen complaints, detailing instances of brutality. However, despite the complaints that were filed against him, this is Chauvin’s first conviction where he has been held accountable for his actions by law.

Emphasizing the novelty of the accountability within the verdict of the Chauvin trial, civil attorney Benjamin Crump states, “That blood—from Michael Brown to Eric Garner to Stephon Clark and Alton Sterling, all those cases where police engaged in excessive force and killed brothers and sisters, and there was no accountability—it’s from their blood that we get to Minneapolis, which is ground zero for this civil rights racial reckoning in America, where we think about George Floyd, and [where] his killer, Derek Chauvin, is on trial.”