Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck until he died, was found guilty of all three counts related to Floyd’s murder on Tuesday, in a case that “bucks up against 200 years of history in a way that is enormously refreshing but also deeply informative,” said Margaret Burnham, university distinguished professor of law at Northeastern.
Floyd’s death nearly a year ago touched off protests around the world against police violence and racial injustice. Floyd, a Black man, was unarmed when Chauvin, a white man, killed him. The event was filmed by a bystander, and the video ricocheted across social media platforms, stirring outrage over the clear falsehood in the way police reported the incident at the time.
“This was an unusual and rare case, and one has to ask whether it takes all of that in order to get to the right result, and if yes, then that alone is an indictment of a criminal justice system that we need to be able to depend upon,” said Burnham, who also founded and leads the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern.