Local expert weighs in on impact of Derek Chauvin verdict

Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 5:02 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Protests have turned to celebrations after the murder conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd. The jury’s decision, convicting Chauvin of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, capped the most prominent policing trial in decades. Experts say the ripple effects from the landmark trial will be felt nationwide.

Crystal Brown, a sociologist at Sam Houston State University was on First News at Four on Wednesday.

When it comes to sparking change, Brown says this conviction is just the start, especially for the Black Lives Matter movement. And finally, the justice system responded to the BLM movement’s call.

“I think what this conviction says is, it works. This movement has caused an impact,” Brown said. “You do see that this type of movement was spurred across all 50 states. It reached places like London, Australia…It reached places in Africa, like Nigeria. So this is a movement that the world heard.”

Many supporters of the BLM movement are saying this conviction is not justice, it is accountability. Brown says this view does not want to take away from George Floyd’s family, who is receiving closure and justice on their end.

“[Floyd’s family] are receiving, in their eyes, justice,” Brown said.

Convictions in cases like this, Brown says, will have a significant impact on social justice causes.

“This was a moment where we decided what type of social justice system we wanted to have in the United States,” Brown said. “Cops are not above the law; they are not judge, jury, and executioner. It definitely said to racial minorities…that you do not have to live by a separate justice system. There is equality for you as well.”

Working with college-aged students every day, Brown says the younger generation is aware of our nation’s history and they are encouraged to spark change for the future.

“I do think there was a level of pessimism as the trial progressed, even with video. But I do think they’re looking at long-range implications and they know the work isn’t done.”

The video recording of George Floyd’s murder was recorded by a 17 year-old girl, raising the question if young people are aware of how much their impact can have on our nation’s history.

“I think the knowledge that a young person posted this video is enough for young people to say to themselves, ‘Hey, what can I do in this movement?’”

To watch the full interview with Brown, click on the video player above.

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