By Alex Segura Lozano
Minneapolis, Minnesota, Apr 21 (EFE).- The police killing of a teenage African American girl in Columbus, Ohio, just minutes before the verdict was announced in the George Floyd murder trial in Minneapolis, has clouded the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who was on trial for Floyd’s murder.
On Wednesday, dozens of people came to the street corner where Floyd was asphyxiated after being arrested by Chauvin to pay their respects and shout the African American victim’s name after his killer was taken to prison to await sentencing sometime in June.
The relief on the faces of some of the people contrasted with the tears of others, but the general sensation was that “finally” justice had been rendered in Floyd’s May 2020 killing.
One of those present at the site was Debby Pope. a teacher on the verge of retirement who this week traveled from Chicago to Minneapolis to experience firsthand the verdict against Chauvin and to show her support for the local black community.
The white 63-year-old told EFE that she had no doubt that Chauvin was guilty, but many other police officers are, too, for alleged unprosecuted crimes and the public must continue fighting to obtain justice not only for Floyd’s murder but also in other similar situations around the country.
She was accompanied by a group of educators who said that the socio-economic gap between the races in the US is one of the main problems that the country is facing at this point and throughout its history.
Meanwhile, the White House on Wednesday referred to these other situations around the country, specifically to the shooting death of a 16-year-old black girl Ma’Khia Bryant, in Ohio.
According to the police version of events, an officer shot Bryant dead as she was apparently attacking two other minors with a knife, a situation that can be seen unfolding on body camera images from the officer in question released by the police.
The incident occurred 30 minutes before the verdict in the Chauvin trial was made public.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that Bryant’s killing was “tragic” because it involved a teenage girl.
Psaki said at her daily press conference that the Joe Biden administration was thinking about Bryant’s friends and relatives, as well as about the communities that are suffering her loss.
The incident comes after two other deaths at the hands of cops in recent weeks, one of which ended with 20-year-old African American Daunte Wright being shot by a white police officer while apparently trying to evade arrest and the killing of 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago, again by a white police officer, after a foot chase during which – again according to bodycam images – the boy appeared to discard a pistol.
The Biden administration immediately opened what it says will be a thorough investigation of the legality of practices and procedures used by the Minneapolis Police Department.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the probe on Wednesday.
The debate on police brutality in the US against minorities remains on the table despite – or perhaps, in part, because of – the verdict against Chauvin.
The former cop was found guilty on three charges of having murdered Floyd by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes after subduing and handcuffing him. Floyd died of asphyxiation, despite bystanders shouting at the several police officers on the scene that he was not a threat and to let him breathe, the whole incident being videotaped by several passersby on their cellphones.
Chauvin could face up to 40 years in prison on the charges, but given that he has no previous criminal history he may only be sentenced to 12-and-a-half years for each of two murder charges and to four years for a third charge.