George Floyd’s Death, BLM Protests, Derek Chauvin’s Trial, and Police Convictions

By Ariyanah Shelton

Staff Writer

Source: Jacquelyn Martin, Associated Press

Police brutality may have caused a black man named George Floyd to lose his life by using over aggressive force. On Monday May 25, 2020 a man named George Floyd lost his life after police were called by a clerk at Cup Foods reporting that Floyd had used a counterfeit bill to pay for his purchase.

After being approached by an employee of Cup Foods about the use of the counterfeit bill, Floyd refused to reenter the store to talk about the bill in question. According to an article written by Nicholas Burroughs and Jack Healy in Independent, titled “George Floyd: Inside the Minneapolis corner store whose worker made the 911 call that led to his killing,” Floyd was sitting in a car just outside the store when a white police responding to the call arrived. The actions taken by the police in the next few minutes will forever be remembered by all the bystanders watching.

Protest, after protest, after protest, occurred not only in the United States but all over the world. People of all races protested, and continued to protest for justice, and to put an end to all the brutality coming from officers who were hired to protect the people. They were tired of the wrong decisions, the racism, the anger, the lack of training, the way they overreact to situations, and the number of black lives that were being affected by police officers actions.

The protests caused violence, riots, deaths, fires and millions of dollars worth of damage to property, which begs the question, did protesters have a right to protest to this extent after the death of George Floyd? A Hammond High School student voiced his opinion on the topic, saying “Even though violent events took place, that was not the intention of the protesters for that to happen. The protesters were out there fighting for justice. Fighting to stop the killing of black lives and to help police see they need to stop the violence.” 

Another Hammond High School student added, “People needed to get out and protest. They needed to get their concerns heard. Unjust actions need to be dealt with and protesting is a way to do that. I learned in history class the first amendment says people have a right to protest to communicate their views.” Both of these students attended some of the protests.

After witnessing the brutality of the officer, many bystanders believe that officer Chauvin should be convicted for the murder of George Floyd. Just like the protesters have a right to protest, Chauvin has a right to a fair trial.

At the time of this article being written, a trial is being held, and many witnesses have testified to the best of their ability for this tragic event. Whether Officer Chauvin is found guilty is solely up to how the jury processes all the information obtained during the trial. While many are expecting officer Chauvin to be convicted, they may be disappointed when the jury gives their verdict. Chances are he may not be found guilty for his actions. 

According to an article by criminal justice reporter from the Washington Post, Mark Berman, “hurdles to convict officers still steep” despite national protests, police are rarely charged when they kill someone on duty. A criminal justice professor by the name of Philip M. Stinson at Bowling Green State University who collects highly reliable data sets on police prosecutions says only a handful of police officers are charged with murder or manslaughter every year. 

Will Officer Chauvin be one of them? What will happen if Officer Chauvin is not found guilty? How will the protesters react? The answer to all these questions will be answered after the Chauvin trail is over.

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