On May 25, 2020, Derek Chauvin knelled on the neck of George Floyd for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. Under the knee of Officer Chauvin, Floyd died at the age of 46.
Just last week on April 20, 2021, Chauvin was found guilty of three counts involving the death of George Floyd. He was found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The verdict served some justice for the family and life of George Floyd, but as it pertains to police brutality as a whole, this verdict is just the first step for many.
Advocates have vocalized their happiness for the verdict as it pushes their belief of keeping individuals, specifically police officers, accountable for their actions. The issue of police brutality continues to grow with the shooting of 20-year old Daunte Wright just a few miles away from where George Floyd died.
According to the Humans Right Watch, while this case held a unanimous decision to convict, “there are few cases as indefensible as this one.” Floyd’s death was caught on tape, broadcasted to thousands of people via social media that made Chauvin’s defense weak.
House Democrats introduced and passed a bill in March titled, “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act,” but fell at the Senate which at the time, was controlled by Republicans. The act was going to boost law enforcement accountability and root out racial biases within the system.
Further reforms include “creating a national registry of police misconduct, ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants, and overhaul qualified immunity protections for police officers,” according to CNN.
While the Democrats now control the Senate, with a 50-50 split with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker, the legislation still needs 60 votes to pass any bill.
A common misconception surrounds the generalization of “defunding the police” as many Republicans believe Democrats are pushing for the defunding of the police force — an idea a very small minority of Senate Democrats hold. As for now, there is little talk of defunding and more focus on reform in the agenda of President Joe Biden.
The conviction of Chauvin was a big step forward in holding police officers accountable for excessive violence especially against African-Americans. For those in the fight, they have expressed it is evident that the government has a lot more work to progress toward ending police brutality entirely for many in the fight.
It won’t be easy, but many believe the future of unifying America in peace rests in dismantling the racial inequities that are see deeply rooted government systems.