A policeman from the United States has been found guilty of all charges related to the murder of African-American George Floyd.
Derek Chauvin, 45, was found guilty on three charges: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.
He will remain in custody until he is sentenced and could spend decades in jail.
The death of Mr Floyd sparked an international wave of protest that resulted in multiple mass “Black Lives Matter” protests here in the United Kingdom and the toppling of statues celebrating slavers – like that of Edward Colston in Bristol.
But here’s the reason the verdict matters directly to people here in the UK:
Derek Chauvin, 45, was filmed kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during his arrest last May.
The widely watched footage sparked worldwide protests against racism and excessive use of force by police.
If members of the public hadn’t taken video of Chauvin choking Mr Floyd to death, it is almost certain that Chauvin would have been able to avoid any charges at all; it would have been the word of a few black people against that of a police officer.
Meanwhile, here in the UK, a police union – the Metropolitan Police Federation – has been campaigning to prevent what it calls “trial by social media”.
These people mean the practice of posting video evidence of police misdeeds on Facebook and (particularly) Twitter.
I wrote about this less than a week ago. At that time, I quoted this tweet –
Many of incidents shared led to investigations against rogue officers otherwise there’d be no action- #GeorgeFloyd would have been just another black man dead if 🇺🇸 had done this. Maybe if your own officers stopped sharing footage of dead women, you’d have higher moral ground https://t.co/RhZbOGKcbl
— Aamer Anwar🎗✊🏽#BlackLivesMatter (@AamerAnwar) April 13, 2021
– and added:
“Two good points, don’t you think? For clarity, they are:
“1. If nobody had taken footage of George Floyd being throttled under the knee of a US police officer, nothing would have been done about it.
“2. It is hypocritical of the MetFed to complain about the sharing of images that shame the police when its own officers have shared images of them behaving inappropriately (to say the least) with the dead bodies of members of the public.
“If the police did not behave inappropriately; if they weren’t prone to violence against the public they are meant to protect; and if we didn’t have reason to believe the system was corruptly supporting them, then nobody would be recording these images – they simply would not happen.
“So, before these people demand what are frankly fascist measures to stop us from holding them to account – and remember, they can still record us (although I understand footage from cop cameras is likely to be restricted due to failings in policing by the officers involved) – it seems clear they should try cleaning up their act instead.
“But I suppose that would take all the fun out of it.”
Well, I reckon they’re going to have all the fun taken out of it now.
Because, after the Chauvin verdict, nobody will have the nerve to suggest banning footage of police brutality from the social media.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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