Shocking Verdict Marks Some Progress

By Manny Garcia

It is clear to many that in our society some law-enforcement personnel, which is supposed to protect and serve the people, view those of color as less valuable, threatening and criminal. In light of the George Floyd murder, students and activist share their thoughts.

On April 21, a 12-member jury found Minneapolis Police Office Derek Chauvin guilty of three charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter after he killed George Floyd, an African-American man who was suffocated to death by Chauvin’s knee on his neck.

According to Statista Research Data, which tracks several issues, “Sadly, the trend of fatal police shootings in the United States seems to only be increasing, with a total 213 civilians having been shot, 30 of whom were Black, in the first three months of 2021. Additionally, the rate of fatal police shootings among Black Americans was much higher than that for any other ethnicity, standing at 35 fatal shootings per million of the population as of March 2021.” This clearly shows there is an issue.

Kesler Cervantes, student at College of Southern Nevada, said “Being part of the marginalized groups, I was taught at an early age the police are more than likely to not be my friend and how to reduce any aggression that may come from an interaction.”

“It’s clear how different races and ethnic groups are treated by police,” Cervantes said. “If you compare the protest that happened last year in June and the capitol riot in January, there is no comparison. The people protesting in June were arrested by the hundreds and assaulted in almost every way. Meanwhile a group—mostly filled with white people who tried to over-throw the government—were let inside of the government building and allowed to rob and destroy it even though their intent was to kidnap or kill prominent members of the government.”

Ashanti Johnson, another student at CSN, commented, “As an African-American woman, it is hard to live in a society that still has a racist mindset. My biggest fear is if I get married and have kids. Will they go through the same treatment George Floyd did and not come home?”.

In light of the Chauvin verdict, some change is being made. Activism is heightened.  

Daniela Gonzalez, a social-justice activist, has been out on the streets protesting for change since 2012 with the Trayvon Martin case. 

“There have been many deaths by police brutality since then and no one has been held accountable for them… until the guilty verdict of Chauvin. Even today, as I’m sitting here, thinking of George Floyd and the Derek Chauvin verdict as the world is watching and finally feeling some sense of accountability.”  

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