The main thrust of this case is that 46-year-old black man George Floyd was killed by a white police officer during his arrest. Initially, Floyd was detained due to the use of a counterfeit $20 bill, but the arrest process itself was characterized by particular police brutality. In front of many eyewitnesses, Derek Chauvin pressed Floyd to the pavement with his knee, which led to an agonizing death (The New York Times, 2022). The rest of the police assisted Chauvin, driving away the eyewitnesses and refusing to give any comments. Floyd screamed in pain throughout the choke and begged Chauvin to stop, but this did not happen. The policeman was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison, and the case itself caused a sharp public reaction and accelerated polarization.
The video of the arrest soon surfaced on the Internet, prompting a public outcry and a string of protests across the US. People did not agree with such cruelty, finding signs of racism and permissiveness in the actions of the police. One such consequence was the rise in popularity of the Black Lives Matter protest movement, whose main message was social justice and black community rights (Silverstein, 2021). At the same time, opposition arose in society in the form of right-wing radicals who found signs of violence both in Floyd’s actions during the detention and in the behavior of the Black Lives Matter protesters (Manfredi, 2020).
As for the criminal justice system, protesters demanded reform that will eliminate social injustice and cut the spending on police. For example, some states have adopted legislative amendments to eliminate racism in the early stages of police contact with a person, as happened with George Floyd (Davis, 2021). However, much remains to be done to completely eradicate the legacy of the American past.
Davis, M. (2021). The catalyzing impact of George Floyd’s death on criminal justice reform. Safety+Justice Challenge. Web.
Manfredi, L. (2020). Man who appeared to defend Dallas store brutally beaten by rioters. Fox Business. Web.
Silverstein, J. (2021). The global impact of George Floyd: How Black Lives Matter protests shaped movements around the world. CBS News. Web.
The New York Times. (2022). How George Floyd died, and what happened next. Web.