The Derek Chuavin Decision
Black Lives Matter protests increased in 2020 as millions of people participated in demonstrations fighting for justice for George Floyd. The saying “I can’t breathe” was repeated many times during these protests as it was a few of the last words Floyd spoke as [former] Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck. In broad daylight and on camera, Derek Chauvin murdered a man. Yet, only after many months was he convicted.
On April 20, 2021, Derek Chauvin was charged will second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Understandably, this result can bring about complex emotions and thoughts among the black community because on one side; finally, he was held accountable and a sliver of what was fought for was achieved. On the other hand, Derek Chauvin’s arrest is him being held accountable and does not feel like true justice for the black community.
Systemic oppression against the black community in America has existed for centuries and continues to exist. Proof of this existence is shown through Derek’s trial considering that he “...becomes the first white police officer in Minnesota’s history to be convicted of killing a Black person: George Floyd” written by Mukhtar M. Ibrahim, a Black American Journalist. It was recorded that Minneapolis police use force against black people 7 times more than against white people, so the fact that Derek is the first white person to be properly convicted is immensely concerning. Dismantling a racist system that prioritizes the lives of white people would be justice. Arresting someone for obviously murdering a man should be expected.
“Justice is George Floyd going home tonight to be with his family… Justice is when you’re pulled over, there not being a gun that's part of that interaction... ” AOC, U.S. Representative for New York's 14th congressional district, said when speaking about the verdict of Derek Chauvin.
All things considered, Derek Chauvin’s arrest is not justice. This verdict should be expected considering the murder was witnessed around the world, but because of America’s racist system and the government overvaluing of police officers, what should be an obvious verdict was a long, nail-biting wait for basic accountability.
Not to mention, Andrew Brown Jr, Ma’Khia Bryant, Breonna Taylor, Daniel Prude, Stephon Clark, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, and thousands of other black people have faced death because of the police but has yet to receive proper justice. They should all be alive today and with their loved ones. Racism is alive and well in America, and although Derek Chauvin’s arrest is a step in the right direction, it is a small one and bigger strides need to be made and that can start by properly addressing the systemic racism within the government and the police.