George Floyd’s murderer guilty in “trial of the century”
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 1 of VARSITY News
by Asemahle Ntoyakhe
This tribunal litigation of Derek Chauvin was dubbed “the trial of the century”– not because
an overwhelming multitude of people anticipated an ethical ruling, rather, it garnered this
title because its culmination intrinsically determined the existence of peace amongst entire
communities, namely those of colour. The recurring theme of countrywide protesting seemed
inevitable, as all eyes watched for the outcome of the trial. Nearly a year after the fatal
murder of George Floyd, at the hands of Chauvin, the world observed the trial with
incredibly indignant sentiments. A single verdict not received well had the potential to spark
a substantial amount of outrage and subsequent protests similar to those that had occurred in
the previous year.
The prosecution of Derek Chauvin was monumental not only to the bereaved family of
George Floyd, but also to the often-scrutinized American justice system.
A system that has become synonymous with violent, brutal terror waged on people of colour.
The prosecuting team was therefore tasked with proving beyond a reasonable doubt, that
Chauvin consciously perpetuated this behaviour when he murdered Floyd over a paltry
counterfeit twenty-dollar bill.
The courtroom had forty-four witnesses testifying over a duration of fifteen days, with
the majority disclosing haunting accounts of the ominous events that took place on May 25,
- The staggering evidence was encapsulated through overwhelming emotion from the
witnesses. However, the attestant who evoked the most substantial amount of emotion was
not a witness. It was a video, shot on the phone of a witness. The infamous piece of media
portrayed Chauvin kneeling on the neck of Floyd for nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds.
The courtroom was subjected to a horrific serenade of Floyd crying out for help. His last
words were, “I can’t breathe”. Floyd consequently died from cardiac arrest, caused by neck
Those last words were reminiscent of the final words of Eric Garner. A man who was brutally
slain by a policeman, coincidentally in the exact same manner as Floyd. Those last words
conclusively provided evidence of the police being synonymous with utilising brutal force
against African Americans. Chauvin, who was ultimately dismissed from his job, endorsed
these actions and used them frequently when on the line of duty. The incident which
occurred with Floyd was found to have not been an isolated incident for the former police
officer. It was uncovered that Chauvin had a history of disproportionately castigating
people of colour, predominantly African Americans. These findings, coupled with the other
overwhelming evidence and captivating closing statements from the defensive party, were
sufficient enough for the jury to reach a verdict.
Chauvin was found guilty on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree
murder, and second-degree manslaughter. This was the first prolific case, in which a member
of the police-force was reprimanded and held accountable, due to showing complete
disregard for the lives of those they were meant to serve .
Upon these events, a new policing act was founded in order to mitigate police violence,
predominantly against people of colour. The George Floyd Policing Act was implemented, in
order to act as a symbol of change.