In The News Quiz April 12, 2021
Trial of the Century: Minnesota v. Chauvin
In a Minneapolis courtroom, a terrible spectacle that anguished and infuriated the nation in May 2020 is replayed again and again: Police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling for more than nine minutes on George Floyd’s neck as Floyd utters, over and over, “I can’t breathe.” Moments later, Floyd was declared dead. Chauvin’s trial for three separate murder charges, which carry a maximum combined penalty of 40 years, began March 8, 2021.
As the rare trial to be televised in its entirety (the first such in Minnesota’s history), public interest recalls the former football star O.J. Simpson’s murder trial in 1994-95. Floyd’s death inspired massive marches worldwide—by some estimates, the largest mass demonstrations in U.S. history.
Criminal-justice experts are kept busy explaining the intricacies of the Chauvin trial’s process. Numerous police officers have testified against Chauvin, affirming for example that kneeling at such length on an apparently helpless victim’s neck was not part of accepted police training. Breaking the so-called “blue wall,” whereby police rarely testify against one of their colleagues, is one of several distinctive features of the case.
Read more about these issues:
- Guardian Podcast, “The Death of George Floyd and the Case Against Derek Chauvin” (2021).
- J. Allsop, “Chauvin Trial & The Debate About Cameras in Court” (2021).