Derek Chauvin Convicted for Murder of George Floyd

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By Terrance Turner

March 26, 2021 (Updated April 20, 2021 at 4:06 pm)

BREAKING NEWS: The jury has found Derek Michael Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degre manslaughter for the murder of George Floyd. Mr. Chauvin’s bail has been revoked; he is being taken into custody. He will be sentenced in eight weeks. He faces up to 75 years in prison.

Former officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd on May 25, 2020, by kneeling on his neck for over nine minutes outside a Cup Foods grocery store in Minneapolis. Despite Floyd’s repeated attempts to respire and repeated gasps of “I can’t breathe”, Chauvin continued to kneel on his neck until Floyd died. George Floyd, 46, was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

The brutality of the death was recorded by a young Black girl named Darnella Frazier. The footage of the murder spread like wildfire online and through news reports, sparking weeks of protests. Those protests spread throughout the country (including 60,000 protesters in Houston). They also spread overseas, with protests in Paris, in London, in Berlin.

UPDATE (6:32 PM): Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden delivered remarks on the verdict today. The remarks were carried live by ABC News, which broke into KTRK’s “Eyewitness News”. Both leaders emphasized that the work of justice is not done.

“Today, we feel a sigh of relief. Still, it cannot take away the pain,” Harris said. “A measure of justice isn’t the same as equal justice. This verdict brings us a step closer and, the fact is, we still have work to do. We still must reform the system.”

“Today, a jury in Minnesota found former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd last May,” Biden said. “It was a murder in the full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see the systemic racism the vice president just referred to, the systemic racism that is a stain on our nation’s soul, the knee on the neck of justice for Black Americans, profound fear and trauma, the pain, the exhaustion that Black and Brown Americans experience every single day.”

Biden urged viewers to not give up. He emphasized that this verdict is not a sign that work needs to be done. But “this can be a giant step forward,” he said. “This can be a moment of significant change.”

New Arrest Warrant for Kyle Rittenhouse

By Terrance Turner

Feb. 3, 2021

Prosecutors in Wisconsin have issued an arrest warrant for 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse. He is now accused of violating his $2 million bond, according to NPR. Kyle Rittenhouse failed to inform the court of his change of address within 48 hours of moving, according to Kenosha County prosecutors. They filed a motion with Judge Bruce Schroeder, asking him to issue an arrest warrant and increase Rittenhouse’s bail by $200,000.

Rittenhouse is already charged with multiple counts, including homicide, in connection with the protests in August in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The demonstrations began after a white police officer shot Jacob Blake, who is Black, in the back seven times during a domestic disturbance. Blake was left paralyzed from the waist down. Widespread outrage led to several large-scale protests.

Protesters clashed with a group of armed men who claimed to be “protecting” property. One of them was 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse. Video of the incident shows a man, allegedly Rittenhouse, running down the street with an AR-15-style rifle as he’s pursued by others attempting to apprehend him. Rittenhouse falls to the ground, then turns around and begins shooting at the people trying to disarm him. He killed two of them. (Rittenhouse pled not guilty to homicide charges.)

After the shooting, the man with the rifle walks away from the scene toward law enforcement, according to a video viewed by Kenosha News. In the video, a bystander frantically yells to the officers that the man with the rifle shot someone. “Hey, he just shot them,” the man screams. However, law enforcement officials drive directly past the man with the gun.

When asked why officers did not immediately apprehend Rittenhouse, Kenosha Sheriff David G. Beth answered, “In situations that are high-stress, you have such incredible tunnel vision.” Tunnel vision did not prevent officers from firing seven times at Blake, over a knife. But it did prevent them from arresting a 17-year-old who killed two people with an illegally possessed gun.

Breonna Taylor Grand Jury Decision Announced

By Terrance Turner

No officers have been directly charged in the death of Breonna Taylor.

In case you’ve been under a rock: On March 13, emergency medical technician Breonna Taylor was in bed with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. They had fallen asleep after watching the movie “Freedom Writers”, according to USA Today. The Louisville Metro Police began banging on her door around 12:40 am. They had a no-knock warrant, which allows them to enter a home without warning. The police were carrying out a drug investigation for a suspect that had already been arrested. (Jamarcus Glover, who was also named on the search warrant for Taylor’s apartment, was arrested the same night, 10 miles away, at a house on Elliott Avenue in the Russell neighborhood, per USA Today.)

So officers broke into Taylor’s home — the wrong house — wearing plain clothes, allegedly without identifying themselves, to arrest a suspected drug dealer who had already been arrested. (There were no drugs in Taylor’s apartment, by the way.) The two called out, asking who it was, but got no response, Walker said in a police interview. The officers used a battering ram to break into the apartment, according to the New York Times.

Kenneth Walker, believing his home was being burglarized, asserted his 2nd Amendment rights. He grabbed his gun and began firing at what he thought were intruders. The police responded with a torrent of gunfire. The officers — Brett Hankison, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, and Myles Cosgrove — fired 20 bullets into the apartment, hitting Taylor five times.

Dispatch logs obtained by USA Today show that Taylor laid where she fell in her hallway for more than 20 minutes after she was fatally shot at approximately 12:43 a.m. She received no medical attention; officers were too busy trying to put a tourniquet on Mattingly’s thigh after he was shot. An ambulance had left Taylor’s street an hour before the raid—counter to standard police practice—meaning she didn’t get help for more than 20 minutes after the shooting, per the Daily Beast.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed by Taylor’s family reveals that she lived for another “five to six minutes” while officers ignored her injuries. Breonna Taylor died from those injuries. She was 26. Her death certificate, reviewed by the New York Times, showed she had been struck by five bullets.

None of those officers have been directly charged in her death.

Today, it was announced that of the three officers, only Brent Hankison was charged. He was charged, however, with wanton endangerment — with endangering the other people in the apartment complex (officers’ bullets also hit a neighboring unit, per the Times.) But no one — NOT ONE OFFICER — was directly charged in her death. Mr. Hankison was the only officer fired; the other two officers were placed on administrative duty. And none of them will be held directly liable for her death.

The Louisville justice system had the audacity to charge Kenneth Walker for attempted murder. (Those charges were eventually dropped.) But not one of the officers who killed Breonna Taylor will be held responsible for her death. In a press conference held today, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the three officers fired a total of 32 shots. Rounds fired by Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove struck Ms. Taylor, he said. But that apparently still wasn’t enough to justify charging the officers with manslaughter or murder.

“According to Kentucky law, the use of force by [Officers Jonathan] Mattingly and [Myles] Cosgrove was justified to protect themselves,” Cameron said. “This justification bars us from pursuing criminal charges in Miss Breonna Taylor’s death.” He added: “But my heart breaks for the loss of Miss Taylor. And I’ve said that repeatedly. My mother, if something was to happen to me, would find it very hard,” he added, choking up. He was emotional discussing the case, according to the AP.

Black writer and author Michael Arceneaux was unconvinced by Cameron’s display:

Other voices were equally outraged. LA Charger Justin Jackson had this to say:

Activist Brittany Packyetti wrote:

New York Times writer Jenna Wortham was simple and blunt:

The family of Breonna Taylor was dismayed by the decision. “How ironic and typical that the only charges brought in this case were for shots fired into the apartment of a white neighbor, while no charges were brought for the shots fired into the Black neighbor’s apartment or into Breonna’s residence,” they wrote. The Taylor family’s lawyer, Ben Crump, denounced the decision as “outrageous and offensive,” and protesters shouting, “No justice, no peace!” began marching through the streets. Some sat quietly and wept, according to the Associated Press. Protests continue in Louisville as of this very moment.

This is a developing situation; please check back for updates.