On April 20, 2021, Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. Last year, Mr. Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck and back for nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds.
The medical examiner, Dr. Baker, determined Floyd’s cause of death was cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression. After Judge Peter Cahill, the presiding judge in the case, read out the guilty verdict, he revoked Mr. Chauvin’s bail and remanded him to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s office. Mr. Chauvin was then handcuffed and removed from the courtroom.
In eight weeks, Chauvin is expected to receive his formal sentencing from the judge, which could be several decades due to the severity of the crimes.
Additionally, the conviction comes after the April 11th killing of Daunte Wright by a police officer who claimed she mistook her taser for her gun. The police officer was then arrested for second-degree manslaughter. The shooting sparked protests, and large police and National Guard presence was sent in place around government buildings as the jury deliberated during the Chauvin murder trial.
After the conviction, La Cañada students reacted to the verdict, calling for systematic change.
Edwin Tieu (12) said, “The outcome of this case will cause ripples throughout the country. The justice system is all about accountability and as the name implies- justice. I think that accountability and justice have been served, but there is much more that needs to be changed for this old system to adapt to the modern world.”
An anonymous sophomore echoed this point when he said, “The verdict is only the beginning. What we need to see is greater accountability for those in law enforcement that break the law and undermine our justice system.”
“Cops need to be more accountable and be held responsible for their actions,” Luke Kim (11) said briefly.
“The outcome is not a shock since the world witnessed the clear killing of George Floyd,” said Milo Jhun (12). “Hopefully, we will move forward towards a future of greater accountability for past officers that obstruct justice and kill unlawfully.”
Others talked about the more abstract implications of the ruling.
“I was on FaceTime with a fellow LCHS student when she told me that Chauvin had been found guilty on all three charges. Initially, I was lost for words,” said Nadia Chung (11). “Accountability is good, but it is not justice. George Floyd should still be alive today, and the fact that Chauvin has been found guilty is genuinely the bare minimum. It is a crushing devastation to know that police killed 16-year-old Makhia Bryant while that very trial was happening.”
Multiple other LCHS students have anonymously responded with joy, optimism, skepticism, and determination for future reform.