It might be that the Derek Chauvin trial goes down in history as one of the most important of the 21st century — one of those landmark cases that prove the tides are turning against racial disparities and injustices. Or it might mean nothing at all. In April, the jury deliberated to find Chavin guilty on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter after the man kneeled on George Floyd’s neck, asphyxiating him.
Pennsylvanians have had a lot to say on the matter.
A prominent lawyer at Nagel Rice firm in the New York metropolitan area said that the jury’s verdict wasn’t exactly unexpected: “Public opinion matters almost as much as the evidence in cases like these, and there was a lot of both. Witness testimony was a slam dunk for the prosecution, successfully showing exactly what happened that day. But without the witnesses? It might not have happened. For now, we think we’re moving in the right direction and tackling racism where it matters most. But we’ll remain skeptical until the waves crash down on these guys harder.”
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said, “Today’s conviction is one step of accountability on a long road toward justice. The failures of our system haunt our country’s history, from Dred Scott to Rodney King to Trayvon Martin, but we can write a new chapter.”
Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Bob Casey agreed: “While Derek Chauvin will be held accountable for the murder of George Floyd, it’s not enough. Countless others have died at hands of police because of a broken system that must be reformed.”
Governor Tom Wolf didn’t waste any time commenting: “We know that one verdict will not, by itself, change the course of our nation. But this verdict was made possible by the bravery and ceaseless advocacy of people who stood up and called for change, and it marks a turning point.”
The jury had been deliberating from late evening one day and much of the next day — ten hours in total — to find the defendant guilty on the aforementioned charges. Most leaders accepted that part of the problem was accountability related to discriminatory practices.
Wolf added, “The work of changing policing, of fighting for racial justice, of ending centuries of discriminatory and traumatic policymaking, is hard and painful. It is also, above all, necessary.
President Biden said, “Enough of these senseless killings. Nothing can ever bring [George Floyd] back… but this can be a giant step toward justice in America.”
Now, the long walk toward justice reform begins. Many advocates of change say the first step is legalizing marijuana due to the obvious racial disparities in doling out punishments. Caucasians and African Americans use marijuana at about the same rate — but the vast majority of all related arrests fall on the shoulders of the African American community.