Derek Chauvin, the ex-Minneapolis Police officer that infamously knelt on the late George Floyd, was found guilty of all the charges against him concerning Floyd’s death. These charges include unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
With respect to his punishment, Chauvin could be looking at up to 40, 25, and 10 years in prison for each of these charges respectively. However, the chances of his sentence being lower are higher considering his lack of prior convictions. At the same time, the state of Minnesota is calling for a harsher sentence than recommended to be given to him. His sentencing will take place in eight weeks.
Naturally, many Americans were rejoiced to hear the news of the verdict. People celebrated in the streets of Minneapolis, political figures such as Joe Biden expressed relief that justice had finally been served, and police organizations and officers praised the trial. Meanwhile, people are continuing to demand more change, believing that this event is only a small part of the fight against police violence and racism in America.
These sentiments were shared by four students in regards to this situation.
“I feel the verdict is a great first step toward change,” SAS junior Desmond Hunt said. “For once in a rare occasion, the officer in these types of cases was found guilty… Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Mike Brown, and more cases like this. Officers were not found guilty.” He later emphasized that although the situation is hopeful, this is simply a step.
Another SAS junior, Amirah Joseph, had similar thoughts about the verdict regarding its significance in the greater scheme of things. However, she also expressed concern over the possibility of Chauvin appealing it. “I think the chances [of him appealing] are high considering the amount of media coverage [the trial] has gotten,” she said. “The defense brought this up when trying to get a mistrial.”
PAM junior Daniel Lopez saw this verdict as inevitable and was glad to hear that he could now get sent to jail. He wrote, “It was pretty obvious that what he did weren’t mistakes and [stemmed] from hate”. Like the other students, he seemingly doesn’t expect much change to come solely out of this verdict. “All I can say is [there’ll be] more fighting between people with different opinions”.
Last but not least, SAS junior Beatrice McCoy-Villaneda provided a response that was perfect to close this article off with. “Finally we can let out happy tears instead of sad tears. May the death of George Floyd never be forgotten, and may we never forget the anger, disgust, resilience, sadness, devastation, and overall hope we felt. We are not alone in these trying times, and hopefully, we will never forget that.”