Derek Chauvin’s Trial

Sydney McCall | Staff Writer 

AP/Derek Dovarganes

George Floyd died on May 25, 2020 after being suffocated by a Minnesota police officer. The former officer who pinned him down, Derek Chauvin, is now on trial. 

Eleven months after the death of George Floyd, Derek Chauvin is facing second and third degree murder, and manslaughter charges for Floyd’s death.

During the trial, Chauvin, who is white, was described by his former coworkers as awkward and often having a propensity to overreact. The trial also revealed that Chauvin was previously involved in two other circumstances in which he killed suspects. 

Lt. Richard Zimmerman, an officer in the Minneapolis police department said Chauvin’s actions were a use of deadly force and unnecessary. One paramedic, Derek Smith, testified that there was no pulse when police officers were still on top of Floyd. 

A pulmonologist, Dr. Martin J. Tobin gave a detailed testimony that showed that Floyd died from the pressure of Chauvin’s knee on his neck. 

“A healthy person subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to would have died”, says Tobin. 

Attorneys of Mr. Chauvin are attempting to use Floyd’s previous drug use as an explanation for his death. However, prosecutors argued that it was unlikely that he died of an overdose as he had built up a high tolerance for drugs.

Additionally, the surgeon for the Louisville Metro Police Department, Dr. Bill Smock, testified that there was no evidence of an overdose. Smock also said that officers should have started with C.P.R. immediately after arriving at the scene. 

“It is so disrespectful to blame his death on drugs when we saw what happened,” said Monae Fletcher, a freshman biology major. “In the trial of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown, they did the same thing and tried to deflect onto their past lives as a reason for their death. There’s no excuse. We saw what happened.” 

Witnesses testified that they are haunted by what they saw the day of Floyd’s death. Floyd’s girlfriend told stories to the jury of their loving relationship and how greatly he played his role as a partner and father. 

After Floyd’s death, millions held protests across the country against police brutality. Whatever the outcome of the trial, a reaction from the masses is expected.

“If Chauvin is not found guilty, there is going to be an even bigger upheaval of riots than before,” says Leah Johnson, a strategic communications major at HU. “We are fed up with the same thing happening and having to hold hope that justice will be served.”

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