Chief US Correspondent The Independent.
Chief US Correspondent The Independent.
George Floyd, Derek Chauvin.
At the junction where a police officer was filmed kneeling on George Floyd’s neck as he gasped for air, there were shouts and cheers when it was announced the man had been charged with murder.
“Yes! Chauvin’s been charged with murder,” yelled one man. “We got one of them.” But for the protesters gathered at 38th St and Chicago Ave, in the south of Minneapolis, any celebrations over the charging of 44-year-old white police officer Derek Chauvin, were short-lived.
People demanded that all four officers involved in the incident that led to the death of Floyd be brought to justice. And what was all this with third-degree murder? He meant to kill him, people insisted it should be first-degree. There was also agreement that until all four men were charged, the protests – both the peaceful and those that saw a police station and other buildings set ablaze – would continue.
“I can’t say I agree with burning down buildings useful to our community,” said 19-year-old student Tsunami Douglas, claiming there were reports that police had set some buildings alight. “But people have had enough.”
Her friend, Twyla Mowll, 18, said as a young person of colour growing up in south Minneapolis, they would never call the police as nobody knew how it would play out.
“Police officers are trained to serve the people,” she added. “That does not involve shooting or killing, when people have to be protected from the police, there is no point. There needs to be a new system.”
As Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman announced the charges against Chauvin, further details emerged of the incidents in which Floyd’s throat was stepped on, as he lay on the floor close to Cup Foods grocery, the spot now marked with flowers and photographs.
The charge sheet claimed Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. The complaint said that included nearly three minutes after the man had stopped moving and talking. “Police are trained that this type of restraint with a subject in a prone position is inherently dangerous,” it said.
Amid the anger and dismay, one reaction few if any mentioned was surprise.
This was something that happened all the time, or at least every summer, residents said. “There needs to be a revolution,” said a 20-year-old woman called Macy, who said she was visiting her parents from New York. “The only reason we got this murder charge was because of the burning of the buildings. So we cannot afford to let that stop,” she said.
“The white people are getting scared. They feel threatened. But America does not want to confront its past. Even Germany examined its Nazi past. Nobody will talk about slavery.”
The other three officers have been named Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng. Freeman, the prosecutor said he considered there could be charges brought against them as well, but declined to suggest what they might be.
As the banners and placards on display grow, George Floyd joins a mounting list of young African American men – and some women – who have been killed in encounters with the police – Michael Brown in Ferguson, Freddie Gray in Baltimore, and Eric Garner in New York, to name just as few.
In Minneapolis, a 24-year-old black man named Jamar Clark was shot dead by police in 2015. The following year, officers killed Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black man killed by a Minnesota police officer during a traffic stop.
“This happens all the time, but people are saying enough is enough,” said Yasmeen Abdulla, a 26-year-old medical student who lives in the neighbourhood. “People have been dying in police brutality. They want justice.”
He said while the names of the police’s victims varied, there was one constant. He said: “The names are different but they are always the same colour.”
A fourth officer, Derek Chauvin, was videotaped pressing his knee to Floyd's neck as he gasped "I can't breathe" and called for his mother before he died. Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The jury deliberated less than 11 hours before finding 45-year-old Chauvin guilty of all three charges against him: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.
The journey to this moment has been painful and so very difficult. Derek Chauvin’s killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis was a shocking and disturbing experience for so many people. On video, Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as he took his last breaths.
Just past the gate at an entrance to the Texas Capitol, a large monument honoring the soldiers of the Confederacy looms, with towering statues and an inscription that reads, “Died for state rights guaranteed under the Constitution.”
North Korea is unlikely to be deterred from its quest to place cargoes in space, analysts said, even though a malfunction sent a new launch vehicle and the country’s first spy satellite crashing into the ocean on Wednesday. The secretive country considers its space and military rocket programmes a sovereign right, and analysts say spy
Most people are under a gross misconception about the foods they eat. I’m not a food expert and most people are not either, yet they read the odd article here and there and decide what is good for them and what is not. They start cutting out food groups and adding new food groups not fully understanding how that decision
Hats off to the Dubai government which always believes in the wellbeing of senior citizens. The government always keeps elders, senior citizens on its priority list (“Dubai is committed to providing senior citizens with services, support and care, says Sheikh Hamdan,” June 1, Gulf Today website). According to the report, Sheikh Hamdan
You shouldn’t be surprised that Boris Johnson is so anxious to keep his activities during the pandemic secret. I mean, I’m not saying he has anything to hide exactly, because that would be grossly unfair; but we know what he’s like. The extent of his efforts to get his old colleagues in government to withhold diaries, documents and