Earlier today, a jury convicted former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd. Chauvin, who is white, was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd, a Black man.
Video recordings show that Floyd was handcuffed and held face down on the asphalt and that Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine and a half minutes.
The killing of George Floyd was an appalling act of police violence that shocked and horrified millions of Americans and led to protests globally calling for racial justice and police accountability.
We’ve all seen the sickening video of Derek Chauvin with his knee on George Floyd’s neck. Today’s verdict is an acknowledgement that police officers cannot get away with murder, but we still have a long way to go to achieve the justice demanded by so many protesters in the last year.
Most cases involving police killings don’t have video capturing what happened.
The fact that justice was done in this case cannot mean that we forget about the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Dion Johnson, and so many others. But this case galvanized a movement for justice that has expanded across the country, rooted in longstanding demands for a reimagining of a criminal legal system built on anti-Black racism and white supremacy.
Lawmakers at the state and federal level must begin holding officers accountable for police violence. The time to act is now.
In the wake of Chauvin’s conviction for murdering George Floyd, the Civil Rights Memorial Center (CRMC), a museum space operated by the SPLC that includes interactive exhibits about civil rights-era and contemporary activists, has released a national community-led poem. The CRMC created the poem in partnership with New York Times best-selling author Kwame Alexander.