2020 was marred by a lot of headlines for the United States of America, from the impeachment of its president to the novel Coronavirus that left us all inside for the majority of the spring and summer. However, one of the most defining moments of that year was when George Floyd was murdered by a handful of police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota of a misunderstanding on their part. The event was long and brutal for anyone to watch because in it you will see police officers kneeling on Floyd for more than 9 gruesome minutes, eventually killing him in the process. Most, if not all, of the attackers, were arrested and put on trial, but arguably the most important trial just finished sentencing near moments ago.
The lead officer and the one with his knee firmly placed on Floyd’s neck was Derek Chauvin, a 46-year-old former police officer of Minneapolis that has a past of using unnecessary force on African Americans in his jurisdiction. For example, Chauvin has been accused and punished for assaulting a 14-year-old black teen in a very similar fashion to what he did to Floyd.
Chauvin’s legal timeline seems to finally finish because he has finally been sentenced to 21 years in prison (20 and a half because of time already served), this has set a very noble and bold precedent in the United States legal system.
By this, I mean that for the majority of all history in the United States police officers never received appropriate punishment for brutality or bias against minorities or oppressed classes. Most often when police brutality leads to the death of someone unjustly, the officer is placed on paid leave to allow for the situation to blow over. The worst that the officer would face is being fired and allowed to continue into another career. This is true for some of the other officers involved in the Floyd case, for they were fired but not forced to go to prison for murdering Floyd.
In conclusion, Chauvin’s sentencing is a welcomed conclusion to his family and friends, and it will serve as a precedent for (hopefully not) countless other events of police brutality and unnecessary force. However, no matter how great this sentencing is, we can not forget what happened for it to come to life.
Edited by Shruti Agrawal
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