On February 24, 2022 three former officers, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, were found guilty of federal crimes, in the murder of George Floyd. They were charged with depriving George Floyd of his civil rights while acting under government authority. The verdict has reinforced the fact that the fight for justice and against institutional racism in America continues to make progress and that also "Black Lives Matter." (See here: Minneapolis - USA Protests in Images: Demand for Justice for George Floyd)". Meanwhile, on February 25, 2022 US President Joe Biden nominated Ms Ketanji Brown Jackson to be the first Black woman to serve as a US Supreme Court Justice. The nomination is viewed as another step forward in seeking racial justice and equality.
In April 2021, Derek Chauvin, 45-year old former police officer, was found guilty of murdering George Floyd, a Black man in May 2020. Now,on February 24, 2022 his former fellow officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao were convicted of depriving George Floyd of his civil rights by failing to give him needed medical aid. Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng were also convicted of failing to intervene to stop Derek Chauvin from using excessive force that led to the death of George Floyd.
The highly awaited decision was applauded by George Floyd family members, civil rights activists, politicians and others. However, the overall sentiment is that it is just accountability, not justice and that racial justice still has a long way to go. This sentiment is fueled by more killings of Black men, including the killing of another Black man, Daunte Wright, by a police officer in the suburb of Brooklyn Center.
The trial was held for around a month and the jury began deliberating in the morning of Wednesday February 23, 2022. After the decision was read, George Floyd's brother Philonise said: “This is just accountability. It can never be justice because I can never get George back... no matter how many times that I pray at night and I think about my brother 24/7, it still is going to be hard.”
The attorneys of the accused officers had tried to blame the inadequate training and the fact that the junior officers had to follow the directions from their senior and more experience fellow officer Derek Chauvin. The attorneys representing George Floyd's family rejected the weak argument.
“These officers tried to devise any excuse that could let them wash the blood from their hands, but following these verdicts George’s blood will forever stain them. Today’s guilty verdicts should serve as the guiding example of why police departments across America should expand and prioritize instruction on an officer’s duty to intervene and recognize when a fellow officer is using excessive force,” Ben Crump and other attorneys representing Floyd’s family said in a statement after the annoucement of the verdict.
The three officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao,Thao face each to serve up to life in prison. They also face a state trial in June 2022 for charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.
The verdict is viewed as a step in the direction of what the activists had requested; it is another step towards raising the awareness that: Black Lives Matter.
As the verdict is being hailed, the nomination by US President Joe Biden of the highly qualified and experienced Ms Ketanji Brown Jackson to be the first Black woman to serve as a US Supreme Court Justice is being hailed as a major event. If she is confirmed, it will be a major step towards a fair representation of Blacks in justice and for racial equality. As a US Supreme Justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson would be expected to push for major legal decisions impacting racial justice, racial equality and, in all aspects, justice.
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