Derek Chauvin Found Guilty for Murder of George Floyd
by Hannah Langley ’21
On May 25, 2020, cries of “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace” were heard around the United States following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. After kneeling on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes, it was reported that a medical examiner concluded Floyd had died of cardiac arrest.
Nearly one year later, Chauvin was put on trial for his involvement in the death of George Floyd, and on April 20, was found guilty of second- and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter. It was reported that the conviction of second-degree murder meant that the “jurors unanimously agreed that Chauvin caused Floyd’s death during the commission of a felony assualt.”
Chauvin has not received his full sentence yet, but could receive as much as 40 to 70 years in prison. His final sentencing will take place in eight weeks. “Today, we are able to breathe again,” said Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, following the verdict.
Father Kenneth Sicard, O.P., released a statement following the verdict, as well, condemning the violence experienced across this country everyday. “As president of Providence College,” he said, “let me state unequivocally that we must decry the callous loss of life that we see so often in our cities and on our streets.” He continued, “I encourage all members of our community to pray for peace and for an end to this senseless violence, and to support one another in kindness and respect.”
The email also included resources available to the Providence College community for support.
Many celebrate the fact that Chauvin has been held accountable for his actions, unlike the many police officers who have taken the lives of innocent men, women, and children over the years. This case will hopefully act as a precedent to keep police officers and others in power answerable for their misdeeds.
Looking Back on BLM One Year Later: Recent News on Breonna Taylor and George Floyd’s Families
by Hannah Langley ’21
On March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman from Louisville, KY, was shot and killed by police officers while asleep in bed. Taylor’s death, along with the deaths of other Black people, such as George Floyd in May 2020, contributed to the Black Lives Matter movement protests against racial injustice and police violence that swept through the country in the spring and summer of 2020.
Taylor’s family is still waiting for the police officers who killed Taylor to be held accountable. Her mother, Tamika Palmer, has been fighting for the past year for charges to be brought against the men who killed her daughter.
While Palmer has not seen any actions taken yet, she says she will not give up. “I’m still out here, I’m still doing what I need to do to get justice for Breonna to make sure that people do right by her,” Palmer said in an interview with CNN.
Palmer has recently filed internal affairs complaints with the Louisville Metro Police Department in the hopes that the three men who raided Taylor’s home a year ago will be held accountable for what they did. “These internal affairs complaints,” Palmer’s attorney said, “were filed to get answers, explanations and accountability.”
In other news, nearly one year after Taylor’s passing, the family of George Floyd received a settlement from the city of Minneapolis, MN for $27 million on March 12.
Floyd’s family members, including his brother Philonise and sister Bridgett, commented on the settlement. His brother thanked the city of Minneapolis, saying, “I know that [George is] with us, and he’s standing up, right now, knowing that we have the opportunity to be able to fund low-income, African American communities.”
In addition to the settlement, there have been developments in the trial against Derek Chauvin, the police officer who killed Floyd. A jury was in the process of being selected for Chauvin’s trial several weeks ago; however, on March 15, Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s defense attorney, called for a delay in the trial because of the city’s settlement with Floyd’s family. Nelson asked the judge to consider a change-of-venue motion, believing the settlement will create a more biased jury pool from the city’s residents.
According to CNN, Nelson asked that the jurors already selected “at least” be called back to see if they had heard the news and could remain impartial.
Nelson stated that the announcement of the settlement during the middle of Chauvin’s trial was “disturbing to the defense” and criticized the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Jacob Frey.
According to The Washington Post, Judge Peter A. Cahill has said he will take the defense motions into consideration while proceeding with the jury selection and has also agreed to call back the current jurors closer to March 29 when the trial begins.