On May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, George Floyd walked into a convenience store. The store clerk stated that the 20 dollar bill Floyd paid with was counterfeit. The police were then called to the establishment. In what he called an “act of restraint,” former office Derek Chauvin pinned Floyd to the ground. He placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. During that time, Floyd repeatedly stated that he couldn’t breathe. He became unresponsive and later died. His cause of death was asphyxiation from sustained pressure. The pressure on his neck and back cut off the blood flow to his brain.
Almost a year later, on March 29, 2021, the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin started. It was initially predicted to take a month, but final statements were given on Friday, April 16, 2021. The jury came to a verdict the following Monday. The jurors agreed that Chauvin was guilty on all three charges, which included second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin will face sentencing in the coming weeks.
Floyd’s murder brought the Black Lives Matter movement into greater popularity. Jayla Spearman, a student at Oakland Mills High School, is a part of the Black Student Union in our OM community. She has even been to numerous protests. She states that the ending of the trial “made her feel very relieved but cautious.” Spearman also mentioned “even after the trial, three more people of color have died at the hands of the police.” Moving forward, Spearman would like to see more change in training our police forces. Further training would give better skills for working with certain groups of people in certain situations. Lastly, she stated that “We have to realize that justice is the bare minimum, we still have a lot more things to accomplish.”