Story at a glance
- George Floyd was killed last year by Minneapolis police officers that were restraining him, sparking protests against racism and police brutality.
- Derek Chauvin, who was involved in Floyd’s death and fired by the department, is on trial for multiple charges of murder and manslaughter.
- The president of the NAACP spoke about the significance of the trial in a recent interview.
On the fourth day of the trial of Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd, the judge noted that the trial was running ahead of schedule.
Witness testimony is expected to wrap up by noon on Friday, leaving the country waiting for a decision in the case that sparked protests in cities across the nation.
“When we consider this trial, we must recognize that our criminal justice system is actually on trial. The right to breathe as a Black man is on trial,” Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP, told CBS on a new episode of “The Takeout” podcast.
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Chauvin, a white man, is facing multiple charges in connection to the death of Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody after Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. He has pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.
The defense has argued that the crowd of onlookers made Chauvin and the other responding officers concerned about their safety, diverting attention from their hold on Floyd, but witnesses pushed back.
“That’s called racism. When you automatically assume the most negative characteristic of about an individual or a community based on their physical features, that’s called racism,” Johnson said.
The case has highlighted the historically violent past between police officers and Black Americans, who are disproportionately stopped, arrested and punished, as well as the victims of police brutality. The arrest that ended in Floyd’s death was for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill.
“We afford all citizens due process. We should always have a system to adjudicate injuries and harms, and to ensure that we have a justice system that is both transparent and accountable. That’s something that George Floyd was not afforded. That’s why this whole scenario is so appalling,” said Johnson.
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