By Kyra Karrison
The arrest and death of George Floyd was an event that spread across the world with disgust and was followed by direct action. Protests against police brutality, police racism, and lack of police accountability were just a few of the many protests that hundreds of thousands of people across the world took part in.
The day after George Floyd’s death an organized protest took place in Minneapolis after a video of what had happened circulated widely within the media. After this video circulated thousands of people had gathered together at the location of his death and created a peaceful protest in the form of a makeshift memorial in his honor.
Members of Floyd’s family wanted all four officers who were involved in his death arrested and charged with murder. The day after Floyd’s murder Officer Derek Chauvin was dismissed by the Minneapolis Police Department and charged with second degree-murder and lesser offended charges and released on bail on October 7, 2020.
Five months and one day later, Chauvin’s murder trial began in the Minnesota Fourth Judicial Court. Then on April 20, 2021, he was found guilty on all three charges of second-degree unitentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Following this final conviction, his bail was revoked and he was remanded into police custody, his sentencing will take place sometime in the next couple of weeks.
Floyd’s death not only impacted his family and the people of Minnesota, but it also impacted students on William Peace University’s campus. Alexis Peterson, a sophomore majoring in Criminal Justice, is one of many students that believes Chauvin’s sentencing equals justice served. And that with his conviction she, alongside other African Americans, can take a breath of relief.
“I’m scared for my younger brothers and how they have to live life as a black man and not knowing what’s going to happen if they get in an altercation with the police,” says Peterson. “Not only my brothers but for any African American because we feel that we are looked at differently so that being said I do feel that justice was served and it was served the right informal way.”
Floyd’s death not only sparked worldwide protests but it also resulted in the change of public attitudes regarding the social and racial injustices that have taken place past, present, or future. The Black Lives Matter movement was one of the biggest and most impactful protests since George Floyd’s death, they established a $12 million dollar fund to help support organizations fighting to right racism.
While the Black Lives Matter movement made a large impact Chauvin’s conviction is another impact that many were waiting for. Another WPU student impacted by this conviction was Darius Jackson, a sophomore majoring in Business Analytics who feels as though his death can never truly be righted, a conviction is a step in the right direction.
“I feel that justice was served and I feel for George Floyd’s family,” says Jackson. “The fact that people are worried about the verdict says a lot about the system. I think that this conviction was a pivotal step in improving the system and could serve as a turning point.”
While it is evident to WPU students, George Floyd’s family, and those around the world, the conviction and sentence of Derek Chauvin’s are most definitely not going to bring back Floyd or even fix racism or the justice system; it is a huge step in the right direction that is bringing a lot of hope.