The following stories were written by Morgan State University multimedia journalism students.
May 25, 2020:
Police were called in a Minneapolis neighborhood because there was a report of a “drunk man” who used counterfeit money to buy cigarettes. When police got there, they drew their guns immediately and ordered George Floyd, 46, to get out of his car.
The officers struggled to place the 6-foot 4-inch man in handcuffs and into the car, which was how he ended up on the pavement. Less than 30 minutes later, George Floyd was pronounced dead from having his neck and back compressed by officer Derek Chauvin’s knee, allowing no air into his body for more than nine minutes. – Khaliah Hines
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Darnella Frazier, a teen girl who was 17-years old at the time, recorded video of now former officer Chauvin using excessive force on Floyd. Face down and handcuffed, Chavin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. “I can’t breathe,” Floyd begged and he cried out for his mother.
Since Frazier recorded the actual moment that went viral, it helped shape the Chauvin trial.
Van Jones, a CNN commentator said, “If she didn’t record that video, Chauvin would still be a police officer.”
On April 20, after a Minneapolis jury found the officer that killed George Floyd guilty, Frazier expressed her joy and relief on Facebook saying, “I just cried so hard.” – Taylah Ashford
Caron Nazario, a U.S. Army Reserve 2nd Lieutenant, was ordered to pull over by police in Southern Virginia. Because of the dark road, Nazario slowed his vehicle down, turned on his warning flashers and decided to pull into a BP gas station nearby.
Officers acknowledged they flashed their guns at the lieutenant who had his hands up. What followed was Nazario being pepper sprayed and forced to the ground by several officers.
Handcuffed, Nazario posed no threat. His new vehicle displaced legal temporary license plates.
The incident became public this month because Nazario filed a lawsuit against the police, one of whom was fired for misconduct. – Micah Caldwell
April 19: Chauvin trial.
After hearing the testimonies of 38 witnesses over 11 days, the prosecution in the Derek Chauvin trial rested their case. Here were some of the key witnesses:
- Jena Scurry, the 911 dispatcher who handled the call
- Donald Williams II, a witness at 38th and Chicago
- Darnella Frazier, the teenager who filmed Floyd’s arrest
- Medaria Arradondo, Minneapolis police chief
- Dr. Martin Tobin, a world-renowned pulmonologist
After presenting the testimonies of seven witnesses over two days, the prosecution in the Derek Chauvin trial rested their case. Here were some of the key witnesses:
- Barry Brodd use-of-force expert
- David Fowler, former medical examiner from Maryland
- Peter Chang Minneapolis Park police officer
- Defendant Chauvin declined to testify and took his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination – Trae Mitchell
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three charges for the murder of George Floyd.
As many believe justice has been served, others look forward to the upcoming trial for the remaining police officers involved.
Three men have been charged with assisting second-degree murder, as well as aiding second-degree manslaughter. These charges can carry up to 40 years in prison.
The three officers accused of playing a role in the death of George Floyd, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao, will stand trial in court beginning Aug. 23. – Langston Noah Fraley
The contributors are students in the Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication.