Nine and a Half Minutes: One Year LaterMay 25, 2021 09:00AM ● By Kassidy Garland
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd entered a convenience store to buy cigarettes, which he paid for with a suspected counterfeit $20 bill. 17 minutes after the first squad car arrived on the scene, George Floyd was lying face down on the ground, unconscious, and pinned down by multiple police officers.
For close to 10 minutes, Officer Derek Chauvin’s knee laid on George Floyd’s neck. Bystander videos show George Floyd repeatedly asking for his mama and stating that he could not breathe. Bystanders asked that Chauvin remove his knee from Floyd’s neck as he was not resisting arrest, and eventually, another officer found that Floyd had no pulse.
Police made no attempts to save his life, not even aiding paramedics or the fire department. George Floyd was pronounced dead at 9:25 pm. He was 46, and just like that, he was gone. He was a friend, a brother, a father, a son, and a human being.
By May 26th, news had spread, and the site of the incident became a memorial. Protests began erupting all over the country, calling for justice for George Floyd and his family, as his murder came just weeks after the murder of Breonna Taylor in her home. The Black Lives Matter movement pushed full speed ahead with marches, chanting “I can’t breathe”, a saying muttered breathlessly by the victim.
Businesses, organizations, and citizens all over the world were tired of witnessing the death of Black people in police custody, and they urged the US government to take action. Counter protests began, and the BLM movement began to clash with the unbelievably still relevant White supremacist movements.
Four days after George Floyd’s murder, Derek Chauvin, the police officer that was sworn to protect his community, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. By June 3rd, the charges were upgraded to second-degree murder. The other officers involved were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
On April 20, 2021, former Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. It was the first conviction of a White police officer in Minnesota for the murder of an African-American.
Across the country, many were able to breathe a sigh of relief; justice had been served. George Floyd’s family cried tears of joy that the man responsible for their loved one’s death would go to prison for his crimes. People saw this conviction as a turning point.
Maybe things are finally beginning to change, but we are certainly not finished with our fight for justice and true equality for African-Americans. The trial for the other officers involved in the death of George Floyd has not yet begun. Systematic racism, White supremacist groups, and prejudice still exist, and not only in the US.
The murder of George Floyd occurred one year ago today. The trial of Derek Chauvin, just one month ago, and the trial of the other officers, next year. As we move forward into the rest of 2021 and then into the next years of our lives, we remember the tragic loss of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. We remember the pain, the anger, and that gut-wrenching feeling, and we use it to propel us forward, urging for change, and demanding justice.
Kassidy Garland has had a great appreciation for reading and writing since she was young. She graduated from West Chester University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English & Women and Gender Studies. With a concentration in creative writing, Kassidy has 5 years of experience writing blogs, articles, and for social media. Kassidy is also pursuing a Master’s degree in IT with a concentration in Web Development. Based out of Philadelphia, Kassidy loves to write about a number of topics and looks forward to sharing her passion with those at FunTimes Magazine.
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