Former Minneapolis Police Officer has been unanimously convicted of the murder of George Floyd. The arrest and subsequent murder took place last May and ignited fury within the black community. This fury turned to unrest as millions took to the streets across the world, making it one of the largest civil rights movement in history.
After weeks of testimonies and evidence being presented to the jury, they unanimously decided the verdict in only 10 hours. The jury found the defendant guilty on all three charges: second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter. These convictions will give Mr Chauvin a maximum sentence of 75 years. Given the magnitude and significance of this case I suspect the sentence, which is to be decided in June, won’t fall far short of the maximum.
World leaders have praised the decision, with President Joe Biden calling this a ‘moment of significant change’ and offering his personal support to the family in a private phone call alongside the First Lady and his Vice President. Furthermore, the reaction outside the court was one of relief and joy, with many chanting George Floyd’s name. However, the most poignant moment was when Mr. Floyd’s daughter, Gianna, aged 6, said “daddy changed the world”. Even though Gianna is right about that, the verdict has led many to call for systematic change as a result.
‘This verdict is not a substitute for change’ says Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She has called for reform in the wake of the decisions. Many others have joined her in support of substantial police reform to ensure this event cannot be repeated. Looking forward there will be a hard fight ahead of those pushing for police reform given the partisanship that plagues the US. However, it looks likely that reform will be possible and many hope that this decision help unify a community that has suffered for so long.