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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The Derek Chauvin trial delivers hope, but there is still much work to be done

George+Floyd+Trial
via Wikimedia Commons
George Floyd Trial

Tuesday was just like any other normal day. I woke up and went about my daily routine, and everything was fine. And then a notification popped up on my phone that caught my attention. 

“The jury reached a verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, who is charged with murder in George Floyd’s death. It will be read in about an hour.” 

All of a sudden, this was not a normal day. 

I immediately turned on my television and went to ABC News to see David Murr covering the story of the Floyd murder trial. I anxiously waited for him to interrupt one of his guests to say they had to go to live coverage of Judge Peter Cahill to announce the verdict. After much anticipation, it finally happened. I held my breath for what seemed like hours while the judge spoke.

“We the jury, in the above entitled manner as to count one, unintentional second-degree murder while committing a felony find the defendant guilty.”

“We the jury, in the above entitled manner as to count two, third degree murder, perpetuating an imminently dangerous act, find the defendant guilty.” 

“We the jury, in the above entitled manner as to count three, second degree manslaughter, culpable negligence creating an unreasonable risk find the defendant guilty.” 

I took a sigh of relief. 

Justice for George Floyd has finally been served. I know I wasn’t alone in my relief, because millions of Black Americans finally feel there could be a sliver of hope. 

That’s what this verdict delivered: hope. 

Black men and women all over the country finally feel seen, even if it’s just a little, for the first time in far too long. However, there is still much work to be done. 

Since the start of testimony in the Chauvin trial began, police officers are responsible for over 60 deaths. More than half of those people were Black or Latino. I will be the first to say, officers justly, and unfortunately, have to draw their weapons in self-defense when a dangerous situation arises. Nonetheless, it seems as if every week there is a new story of an unarmed Black person who has fallen at the hands of a police officer. 

A common cop-out for police officers who are negligent in their duties is always something along the lines of, “We’re humans, we make mistakes.” This is certainly true, but it’s a bad argument against police reform. If there were a surgeon who constantly lost patients during surgery, people would not say “Well, he’s only human.” Instead, they would demand malpractice suits be filed and the doctor be put under investigation, along with the system that trained them. Police officers are tasked with protecting the communities they serve, so it should be no different. 

America is nowhere near perfect. We never have been, and we never will be. Nonetheless, what makes this country so unique is that we always strive to be better. There always seems to be some sort of struggle occurring in the United States, from fighting for LGBTQ+ rights, to protesting in the streets and demanding police reform. Oftentimes these occurrences are met with hardships and lots of pushback. However, if one looks hard enough, beauty can be found in the midst of chaos. The beauty is that we live in a country where struggles of the underprivileged and unrecognized can be brought to light. It’s that we can have these difficult discussions, whether it be on the Senate floor or at the dinner table gathered with friends and family. 

The guilty verdict of Chauvin is justice on display in its purest form. A jury of six white, four Black and two multiracial individuals reviewed the evidence after weeks of testimony and came to the conclusion that Chauvin is a murderer who belongs behind bars. 

This is the step in the right direction, but where we go from here is what really matters. The death of Floyd must not be in vain. As a nation, we must come together to enact legislation for meaningful, practical police reform. 

It won’t be easy and it won’t be pretty, but nothing worth having ever is. 

Sam Somogye is a political science senior and columnist for The Battalion.
 

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