Derek Chauvin: Not Justice, Accountability.


Photo courtesy Leonard Lenz/Wikimedia Commons

Jadyn Vargas, Contributor

On May 25, 2020, an incident occurred that will change the history of the United States of America forever. It all began with a supposed fake twenty-dollar bill. George Floyd, 46, living in Minneapolis, MN, was at a grocery store buying a pack of cigarettes. The cashier believed the money he was given was fake and called the police. When the police officers arrived, they approached the vehicle Floyd was in and immediately drew a gun on him. They claim he was resisting arrest and ultimately handcuffed him for “passing counterfeit currency.”

When the officers tried to put Floyd into the police car, the tragedy that shook up our world, really began. Derek Chauvin, Floyd’s murderer and a police officer at the scene, began to become aggressive with him. He pulled him out of the vehicle, causing him to fall on the ground.

Floyd then laid there, face down, on the street, as Chauvin placed his knee on his neck and applied an immense amount of force, which ultimately ended Floyd’s life. For more than nine minutes, Chauvin kept his knee there, as Floyd pleaded to let him go. He knew he was going to kill him. He begged and pleaded for his mother, apologizing to the officers, gasping for air, bleeding, eventually losing consciousness, and passing away.

Chauvin showed absolutely no remorse. At one point he even said, “Then stop talking, stop yelling. It takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to talk.”

The devastating event has been a constant topic of discussion and has brought police brutality and racism into question more than ever in this country. We have all seen the tragic murder of Floyd in a clear video that witnesses took. This event left the country in shambles. It started a war. There have been protests, deaths, and riots over the incident. It has sparked questions about civil rights in this country. It has sparked the question about fairness, police brutality, racism, and everything our country supposedly stands for.

Photo courtesy Rhododendrites/Wikimedia Commons

What happened to Floyd was no mistake. However, it was strategic. Chauvin knew exactly what he was doing, but why? Why kill an innocent man, who was following the rules given to him? Why did he continue to hold his knee on his neck, even after he lost consciousness? Why, even if the twenty-dollar bill was fake, did he deserve to die? What kind of threat did he pose to these police officers, that they felt the need to murder him in broad daylight?

There are so many unanswered questions the world has. Time and time again, this country proves the lack of training provided to police officers and the racism against African Americans, especially. It happens way too frequently and there needs to be a tremendous change when it comes to police reform.

Photo courtesy Rhododendrites/Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 2021, the long awaited trial of the murder of Floyd took place. Although it may have seemed like a no-brainer, and Chauvin should have been charged with murder immediately, it took almost a full year. People all around the country were not sure of the outcome, because we have seen this before. We have all seen police officers get away with killing innocent black people. We see it every day. The jury found Chauvin guilty on three charges; second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

The world (or should I say most), were absolutely thrilled to hear the news. He should have been charged regardless, but with the deliberate nonsense that occurs within our justice system, no one knew what the outcome would be.

As a country, we need to do better. There needs to be justice for those hurt and killed by police. There needs to be punishment for police officers that are too scared of the color of people’s skin so they feel the need to pull out their gun. There needs to be proper training for police officers so this sort of thing doesn’t continue to happen.

It cannot continue to happen. Although Chauvin was found guilty and was charged, justice was not served. Justice will never be served. Not to the innocent man who lost his life. This decision was not something that happens often. It was an exception, not the rule. Finding police officers guilty of the murders they commit must be something done more often and there needs to be an overall change in our justice system.