The custodial killing of George Floyd in the United States last year ignited a nationwide storm of protests against police brutality and a worldwide outpouring of anger at the country’s racial inequality in justice systems. On Wednesday, a USjudge found Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, guilty of three counts – second-degree, third-degree murder, and manslaughter in the death of Floyd. All three charges were levied for an encounter that lasted around nine minutes, as Floyd pleaded for his life pinned down outside a grocery store last year.
President Joe Biden addressed the nation soon after the verdict and called it “an important step”. Biden said that the verdict is “an important step forward for justice in Minnesota”. While the trial is over “but our work has only begun,” he added.
Social media platforms lit up as soon as the news of the conviction was announced. Netizens from all walks of life including community leaders to foreign dignitaries expressed their reaction to the verdict which was ‘monumental’ for calling out police brutality and racial discrimination.
One user termed the verdict as “Pointbreak for Humanity”. He further mentioned that “#GeorgeFloyd can breathe”.
Another user shared a graphic portrait of Floyd and wrote “Justice”.
A third said “JUSTICE” has been done,while “ACCOUNTABILITY” stood as Chauvin was found guilty.
JUSTICE is having George Floyd here today.ACCOUNTABILITY is Derek Chauvin being found guilty on all three charges.
— Dr. Wendy Osefo (@WendyOsefo) April 20, 2021
Another user along with an iceberg representation, which had several names, wrote that the verdict “wasn’t just about George Floyd”.
Following the verdict, several others praised teenager Darnella Fraizer, who witnessed the killing of Floyd that day. Fraizer captured the infamous video of the incident on her phone and shared it on Facebook. The video not only went viral and sparked protests worldwide, but also served as a critical piece of evidence in Chauvin’s trial.
One user posted Darnella’s painting and Chauvin’s image from the trial and wrote that it was her “courage” that made it happen.
Another user praised Fraizer as without her “courage”, the “moment of accountability” wouldn’t be possible.
Think about this verdict by asking yourself would this moment of accountability have been possible if it weren’t for the courage of a 17-year-old girl to record and share what was happening to George Floyd. #GeorgeFloyd #DerekChauvinTrial pic.twitter.com/p4b4czzN65— Ayman Mohyeldin (@AymanM) April 20, 2021
Recounting incidents of Fraizer’s video, another user added that “our children shouldn’t have to police the police”.
#DarnellaFrazier is an heroic figure of this tragedy. Her courage, at 17, in filming #GeorgeFloyd's murder changed history.And her little 9-year-old cousin kept saying to #DerekChauvin, "get off of him."Our children shouldn't have to police the police.We must fix this.— Victoria Brownworth (@VABVOX) April 21, 2021
Meanwhile, overwhelmed by the verdict, Fraizer expressed her joy on Facebook. In a short post she wrote that she “cried so hard,” and “justice has been served”.
Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder a day after Floyd died last year.Three other police officers, who assisted Chauvin and were present at the time of the incident, were fired.