“I can’t breathe.”
George Floyd’s last words continue to haunt the world nearly a year after his horrific murder by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Despite frantic appeals from the crowd around, Chauvin inhumanly kneeled down on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes till he fell silent forever. Floyd was pronounced dead later at the hospital, stirring a worldwide Black Lives Matter revolution, as his tragic death was deemed to be one of the worst cases of racial brutality by American police.
Floyd’s family recently received a historic settlement of $27 million from the City of Minneapolis, against the civil lawsuit of wrongful death. Meanwhile, his ‘killer cop’ Derek Chauvin is under arrest in jail, facing the judicial trial for his crimes. As per the latest update, Chauvin’s trial will continue in Minneapolis, as the judge ruled out defense motions to relocate and postpone the same.
How did Derek Chauvin kill George Floyd?
Chauvin had been a seasoned police officer with the Minneapolis Police Department since 2001. He had even won two medals for valor, both for shooting suspects who intended to harm the police with firearms.
On May 25, 2020, Chauvin, along with three other officers, arrested George Floyd on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill at a shop. He did not resist his arrest, but he reportedly resisted getting into the police car and fell down. While Floyd was handcuffed and fell on the ground with his face down, Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd’s neck and pressed down hard. He did not release despite desperate appeals from Floyd, who repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe” and “Please”. In the meantime, two other officers were kneeling on Floyd’s back. The crowd also frantically requested Chauvin to release Floyd from under his knee, but Chauvin did not budge until Floyd became motionless.
As the video of the incident went viral, Chauvin and the other officers were fired the following day. He was arrested on May 29, 2020, on charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. On June 23, Floyd’s death was characterized as murder by Minneapolis Police Chief, considering the fact that Chauvin was aware of the dangers of positional asphyxiation.
Chauvin’s trial – A timeline
In October 2020, Chauvin was released on conditional bail upon posting a $1 million bond. The third-degree murder charge against him was dismissed around that time, only to be reinstated on March 11, 2021, by Judge Peter Cahill. Chauvin’s trial officially began on March 8, 2021, at the Hennepin County Government Center. His trial was the first-ever trial in Minnesota authorized to allow complete access of cameras so that the entire event can be watched.
The jury selection process has at present delayed the trial as Jury is being selected from among citizens – with serious consideration of the juror’s views on Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, and defunding of the police. As per the latest update, 13 jurors have been appointed already as the court hopes to get a panel of 15. Citizens are anticipating the opening statement from the prosecution and defense on March 29, 2021.
Will Chauvin be pronounced ‘not guilty’?
Social media is, however, abuzz with speculations that Chauvin stands ample chance of getting acquitted despite substantial evidence against him. After the settlement was announced, many questioned whether the step was a precursor to Chauvin’s ‘not guilty’ verdict.
Many dubbed the reinstatement of the third-degree murder charges against Chauvin as justified, while a section of internet users continue to oppose his identification as a ‘racist killer cop’.
“George Floyd had multiple autopsies performed and they all concluded the same: he did not die from compression to his throat. He was a drug addict who had enough drugs in him to overdose. The facts are that Derek Chauvin did not cause his death,” wrote Candace Owens.
George Floyd had multiple autopsies performed and they all concluded the same: he did not die from compression to his throat. He was a drug addict who had enough drugs in him to overdose.
The facts are that Derek Chauvin did not cause his death.
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) March 11, 2021
The controversial talk show host received a lot of backlash for trying to assert Derek Chauvin’s alleged innocence. However, amid the increasing demands for #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd, there still appears to a section of people like Owens who believe Floyd did not die from police brutality, but succumbed to his own habit of drug overuse, as the autopsy indicated.
It now remains to be seen whether Derek Chauvin’s trial marks a new chapter in the history of Black Lives Matter, by the conviction of a White police officer for the allegedly racially motivated custodial murder of a Black accused.
This is a developing story. This space will be updated with new details as and when they come.