Boru: Celebrating Chauvin’s sentencing in skepticism, but hoping it is a step towards change

Twenty-two and a half years is not nearly enough, but this is the beginning of a televised revolution that cannot be erased or ignored.

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Luul Boru

We rarely, if ever, come across cases of police brutality in which the police are convicted, let alone sentenced. They have been and are more likely to be acquitted. What made the murder of George Floyd different from other murders by police is that it was filmed. We watched more than nine minutes of the horrifying last minutes of a man being viciously murdered by white police officer Derek Chauvin.

Civil unrest from across the nation and cries calling for police accountability were finally answered in the Hennepin County Courtroom, when the jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter earlier this year on April 20. Finally, on Friday, June 25, Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill sentenced Chauvin to 22 aand a half years in prison for the murder of George Floyd. This sentencing of a police officer in Minnesota for the muder of a Black man was the first of its kind.

We can finally breathe, but only raggedly. It was not an option for the justice department, the police department, and the court to ignore such a horrifying murder and agonizing death caused by one of their own. Watched by millions of people from across the globe, to turn a blind eye or play the “qualified immunity” card to try and acquit Chauvin would be a blatant show of injustice. Though 22 and a half years is not nearly enough, it is a start. A start of a change, one in which we don’t sit back contently and lower our guards.

To celebrate or not to celebrate the sentencing? There seem to be mixed emotions and responses from Minnesotans: happy that he was sentenced, but sad and shocked that he got so little time behind bars. Following the verdict, people were in disbelief, some saying that only 22 years could not be considered justice. But one thing that echoed in our community is that this is not over. It is likely that we will witness more innocent deaths, those whose names are both known and unknown, and there will be many more Chauvins. It is the beginning of a long battle for justice, so let us all rise up and fight injustice.

To all lawyers and aspiring lawyers, gear up with your choice of weaponized art, educate our children on their heritage not as victims, but as descendants of African Kings and Queens. We will be in the streets chanting, not only in protest because another innocent Black person was murdered, but also to celebrate our heritage and achievements. We won’t let the sacrifices of our ancestors go unmentioned and their legacies discontinued.

It is an unfortunate battle for the right to life and to live in a democratic nation, but we will rise up.