By Lauren DiGregorio and Gregory Marzano
The long-awaited verdict of the Derek Chauvin case was announced Tuesday, April 20, 2021, and was received with joy from communities in Minneapolis all the way to New Hyde Park.
The defense team’s key claims were that humans make decisions in high-stress situations that they think are right and no crime was committed that the prosecution could prove beyond reasonable doubt. In addition, they said that Floyd’s other health concerns led to his death and that Chauvin was not at fault.
In contrast, the prosecution’s main arguments covered many testimonies from doctors, police chiefs, and force specialists as evidence that Chauvin’s actions were unreasonable, even as a police officer. The prosecution also stressed that Chauvin, not Floyd, was the person on trial and that they were not criticizing the police force as a whole.
“I hope for more accountability and action to be taken against those responsible for committing heinous acts like Chauvin committed and for all those that have died at the hands of police brutality like George Floyd to finally gain justice,” said senior Gabby Barcinas.
“It’s a step in the right direction and gives people hope that cases such as George Floyd’s won’t be tolerated...”
“It was good to see the system do what it’s supposed to and convict someone with copious amounts of evidence against them and that he is being held accountable for his actions. It’s a step in the right direction and gives people hope that cases such as George Floyd’s won’t be tolerated. I think that this case called much-needed attention to an issue in the country that needs to be addressed and worked on. I hope this means for the future that people will continue to be held accountable for their actions and that people will continue to combat injustice wherever injustice is happening,” said senior Emma Fager.
After the jury found him guilty on all three accounts, Chauvin now awaits sentencing in prison after being denied bail. Many are calling for the longest possible sentence due to the effects on the community, and it would set a precedent for future actions concerning racism. President Biden made similar remarks in his speech the night before and after the verdict. He stated that the fight for justice was not over and that this guilty verdict was not the end. Vice President Harris also used this time to call on senators to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
“I’m glad that Chauvin was finally ruled guilty for his crimes, but he’s only one case out of the thousands of police abuses that have gone unnoticed. Take the killers of Breonna Taylor and even the recent police shootings involving children; they still have not been resolved. America has a serious history of not holding police accountable for their actions, but I’m hoping George Floyd’s case will set a new precedent,“ said junior Laurence Lai.
The court case also initiated conversations among people around the world about accountability versus justice. Many feel as though the ruling held Chauvin accountable for his actions, but lacked full justice for Floyd. While he was found guilty on all three offenses, nothing seemed to change in the justice system and no laws or regulations were passed after the murder since the Senate still has not voted for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
“...the ruling held Chauvin accountable for his actions, but lacked full justice for Floyd...”
“The verdict of the trial is one step in the right direction for ending police brutality. The George Floyd case was one that shouldn’t have existed, and it is an issue America should have overcome by now. However, the harsh reality is that it happened and it shined a light on the flaws of our current society. I think that justice will never be properly served for the case. At the end of the day, an innocent man lost his life while another gets to continue to live on, but it’s good to see action being taken,” said senior Ved Trivedi.
“Although I feel happy that Chauvin was convicted on all charges, it took a terribly long time for the courts to actually make a decision. I believe that the conviction of Chauvin is just a start to the revealing of the bigger problem in our society, and it will take years to actually achieve something since there are many other people who faced injustices similar to George Floyd but the murderers weren’t held accountable. But this was a significant leap towards our goal, in which the government listened to the mourns of people. I hope through the impacts of the new and upcoming generations, the deep-rooted prejudice faced by all POC will change for the better,” said junior Shirley Chen.