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AU community reacts to the George Floyd’s death and trial

Derek Chauvin, former police officer, was convicted of second-degree murder on Tuesday, April 20, and will remain in custody until sentencing.  

George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis on May 26, 2020. While the cause of his death was highly publicized and questioned, many believed Floyd was murdered in plain sight by officer Chauvin. 

The question that arose from the viral video footage showcasing the incident was, “did Chauvin use unnecessary and unlawful force while arresting George Floyd?” 

“I believe that the Officers restraining George Floyd were less so breaking the law and more so violating procedure when they continued to use excessive force against Mr. Floyd,” said Robbi Porter, junior, political science and prelegal studies major. “He was no longer a threat or resisting arrest. Once Mr. Floyd was pinned and placed in handcuffs, he was no longer a threat therefore the amount of forced used to subdue him was no longer necessary.” 

Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck for approximately 9 minutes and 29 seconds. Floyd was seen in the video shouting, “I can’t breathe,” while Chauvin knelt on his neck. Floyd eventually died. 

Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter, and was found guilty of all counts. 

Second degree murder is an intentional killing that wasn’t premeditated. Third degree murder, also referred to as manslaughter is an unintentional killing. Manslaughter is the act of killing someone without malice or accident. 

Floyd was accused and obtained for using counterfeit money. The money was later discovered as authentic. 

The video of Floyd and Chauvin’s encounter was viewed over a million times. 

“I absolutely think social media had a hand in how publicized this case is. We had a video showing us what happened that was shared many times. I was so angry. How somebody could just ignore the pleas of ‘I can’t breathe, please?,’ is disturbing,” Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Sociology Melissa Bemiller said. 

“Unfortunately, I wasn’t surprised by the video. Police brutality has been prevalent in America for years and years. It angered me, because of the pure disregard for human life,” said Sydney Strong, black student union president. “I think the officer should definitely be guilty of first-degree murder and should get life in prison,” Strong said. 

“There have been too many similar incidents to focus on one. Most recently there was the video of Ahmaud Arbery, before that Walter Scott, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and so many more,” said Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Candace Griffith. 

Many expressed outrage and confusion during Floyd’s trial, because though Chauvin was convicted of the murder of Floyd, Floyd’s past was called into question during the trial. 

Griffin said, “This tactic happens more frequently than people may know. It too is not a new tactic and has been used since the time of trials. No victim deserves to be maligned after a crime has occurred. No one deserves to be hurt, maimed, or killed by police.”