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Friday, May 14, 2021

Nation

UH community reacts after Derek Chauvin found guilty of murder in George Floyd’s death


The death of George Floyd last year in Minneapolis sparked worldwide protests against police brutality, including many demonstrations in Houston. Former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty in Floyd's death on Tuesday afternoon. | Mikol Kindle Jr./The Cougar

The death of George Floyd last year in Minneapolis sparked worldwide protests against police brutality, including many demonstrations in Houston. Former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty in Floyd’s death on Tuesday afternoon. | Mikol Kindle Jr./The Cougar

Former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on three charges, including murder, in the death of George Floyd, which sparked worldwide protests against police brutality.

Although Chauvin’s sentence for the charges, which could range from 10 to 40 years, won’t be handed down for another eight weeks, the jury’s guilty verdict sparked joy in some UH students who saw the decision as a symbol of justice.

“Honestly, I felt a little bit of hope for the first time in a long time,” said Jazmin Gonzalez, a junior studying journalism. “I was hoping they would hold him accountable for his actions so that we are able to hold other law enforcement officers accountable, too.”

After the verdict was given, news stations across the country panned to Floyd’s family and cheering patrons outside the courtroom. Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, was in the room when the verdict was read and hugged the prosecutor immediately afterward. 

“I definitely teared up the moment I saw the reaction of his family. The way they cheered and hugged each other was just amazing,” Gonzalez said. “I’m really hoping that this launches a chain of events and doesn’t stop here.”

Other students feel this is just the beginning, and more work needs to be done. 

“I feel like the verdict was a huge relief for so so many people, but the fact that it’s a relief in general or that it was even slightly possible that it could’ve gone either way is still disappointing,” said Haya-Naaz Ukani, a sophomore studying finance.

George Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin, formerly from the Minneapolis Police Department in May 2020. Videos from security cameras, police body cameras and by-standers circulated around the world. 

Witnesses, including those who interacted with Floyd in his final moments, testified on the stand, along with the acting police chief of the Minneapolis Police Department. 

“Honestly, this isn’t complete justice, this is just accountability,” Ukani said. “Justice would be George Floyd still here today.”

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