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Derek Chauvin Trial

The Chauvin Trial - Episode Preview and Article

Written by: Alvina Anwar and Sheng Chang Li - Writers for the Topilitical article chain

It’s a case we all know. On May 25th, 2020, George Floyd purchased a pack of cigarettes from a local grocery store. He paid the fee received with a $20 bill, as most citizens would. It just was a regular day for him.

An employee working at the superstore believed the bill to be fake, so he reported it to the police. When said employee made the 911 call, he said he noticed the possible hoax at the counter. According to a transcript, this employee gave to the police, he claimed that he demanded the cigarettes back, but Floyd “didn’t want to do that”. As well, he appeared “drunk” and “not in control of himself”.

This is what, some think, helped make George Floyd seem dangerous in the officer's eyes. Although the main argument from the left-wing is that his death was a result of racism, others believe differently.

One reason as to why Floyd may have been acting this way, in the eyes of the right-wing, is because like many other American civilians he recently lost his job in the COVID-19 pandemic. Many believe that he was abusing alcohol and nicotine use to cope with the matter. However, since he wasn’t in the right state of mind, officers thought that he might be a threat to those around him, thus having to take hardcore action.

Nonetheless, George Floyd exited the store with his pack in hand. Less than half an hour after the call was made, 2 officers had approached George Floyd, who was in a car with 2 other people parked around a street corner. One of these officers was Derek Chauvin. After reaching the car, Chauvin decided it to be necessary to pull out his gun and force George Floyd into arrest. According to police documentation and bodycam footage, Floyd began resisting arrest which resulted in the iconic and tragic neck kneel that Chauvin imposed onto Floyd.

After nearly nine minutes of being restrained, Floyd died of asphyxiation from strangulation. Many would argue that the levels of Fentanyl within Floyd’s system contributed to his death. No matter if that’s true or not, the fact that Floyd died of asphyxiation shows the lack of appropriate training for officers such as Chauvin.

In defence of the death of George Floyd, many conservatives bring up his very long criminal record, such as him being a career armed robber. Whether these claims are relevant to the case of his death is up for you, the reader, to decide.

Now that you have a general idea of the case itself, let’s go into the actual trial. Before we talk about sentencing, an important thing to talk about is the definitions and qualifications of murder and manslaughter.

The main crime talked about in the trial is murder. Murder is essentially the illegal killing of someone that includes malice aforethought (malicious planning or thought of the crime before doing so). Of course, there are different degrees of murder that we’re going to be talking about right now.

First-degree murder has to be premeditated and planned with an understanding of the crime and its implications (one’s death). Second-degree murder is encompassed as all murder that isn’t first-degree murder. Third-degree murder is different, with a lack of intent to cause death.

There’s another important crime to talk about which is manslaughter. Manslaughter is the killing of someone lacking premeditation, intent to kill, or malice aforethought. Within manslaughter, there are two categories.

First, there is voluntary manslaughter (also called the Crime of Passion) which in which the aggressor is confronted with some event that imposes and affects their judicial system and causes them to kill without any thought of it beforehand, like killing someone for having an affair with your partner. The second category is involuntary manslaughter, which is essentially acting negligently or carelessly and causing death as a result.

As you can see, this is very confusing, but we'll talk more about these differences in our first news episode here at Topilitical, releasing later this week.

Another one of the largest arguments which support Chauvin serving more time is the racism possibly involved. Although this has been heavily talked about in the media, especially from the left-wing, we aren’t 100% certain if this case did include racist stereotypes. Nonetheless, there is a large chance it did. As seen in many scenarios, African Americans do tend to have stereotypes that suggest that they're unsafe. This leads many people to believe that Chauvin mainly killed Floyd due to his race.

However, this argument has been debated time and time again. As said earlier, Floyd had a criminal history. The officers were also told that he may be a threat, due to the fact he wasn't in the right head state. This leads others to believe that race, even if it did, unfortunately, have a part in the homicide of George Floyd, was not the main reason. However, this is still debated nearly a year after the incident.

Following the trial, Chauvin has been charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Despite pleading not guilty to all of the said charges, he was found guilty on all of the crimes on Tuesday. If you’re wondering when the actual sentencing of punishments will occur, they will be occurring in the second week of June, although the specific date hasn’t been specified yet.

If you’re interested in this situation, tune in to the next episode of the Topilitical Podcast to hear Omar and Chang discuss the case, along with many other current issues. Remember. Stay on Top. Stay Topilitical.

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