Rage at a racist system and killer cops continued to burn as closing statements were heard on Monday in the trial of Derek Chauvin.
He is the police officer accused of murdering George Floyd in the US last May.
As Socialist Worker went to press, activists were anxiously waiting to hear whether the jury would find Chauvin guilty of second‑degree murder.
Second-degree murder is the most serious charge being brought against Chauvin at the trial.
If he is convicted Chauvin could spend up to 40 years in prison.
However, Minnesota state guidelines recommend only 12 years.
Witness testimonies ended last week, with 38 witnesses called by the prosecution and seven by the defence. Chauvin himself decided not to testify.
Darnella Frazier, the onlooker who filmed Floyd’s murder, was one of those called as a witness.
Frazier told the trial in tears, “It’s been nights I stayed up, apologising and apologising to George Floyd for not doing more, and not physically interacting and not saving his life.”
But Frazier also added in reference to Chauvin, “But it’s not what I should’ve done, it’s what he should’ve done.”
A number of Minneapolis police officers were also called to testify against Chauvin to say he used an “excessive amount of force”. But others were called to his defence.
Barry Brodd, a former California police officer, was called to vindicate Chauvin’s actions that led to Floyd’s death.
He testified last Tuesday that Floyd was struggling as Chauvin’s knee pinned his neck to the ground—rather than “resting comfortably”.
Brodd also told the court he felt that “Officer Chauvin’s interactions with Mr Floyd were following his training, following current practices in policing and were objectively reasonable.” Brodd described most police murders as “accidental deaths”.
Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, has also argued that his actions were simply part of police training.
The world is watching to see the outcome of this trial. Chauvin must be found guilty of Floyd’s murder, but activists must continue to fight for more.
The charge of second‑degree murder is already a climb down on original demands by Floyd’s family members, who rightly pushed for Chauvin to be charged with first-degree murder.
Anti-racists need to step up pressure against all the killer cops.
Chauvin cannot be presented as just one “bad apple” which, if rooted out, will make the police force less racist.
The Black Lives Matter movement should continue to take to the streets to demand justice for Floyd and all of those who have died at the hands of the cops.
Whatever the outcome of the trial, it must be used to make an argument to abolish the police for good.
Angry protests have broken out across the US after footage of 13 year old Adam Toledo being fatally shot by police officer Eric Stillman in Chicago was released last Thursday.
The police and prosecution tried to justify Toledo’s killing by saying that he was armed when he was shot.
But the footage shows that he was clearly unarmed at the time and even raised his hands in the air.
Despite this, the head of the Chicago police union, John Catanzara, said that the shooting of Toledo on 29 March was completely “justified”. He went on to say, “There’s a very good reason he only shot once.
“Like I said, he could have been shot multiple times but the officer assessed in a split second.
“Unfortunately, he already committed to the first shot, justifiably so.” Catanzara also described the officer who killed Toledo as “heroic”.
Thousands have marched through the streets of Chicago and rallied outside mayor Lori Lightfoot’s home.
Lightfoot had initially supported false claims that Toledo was armed at the time he was shot.
Activists have also continued to take to the streets to show their rage at the recent police murder of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center near Minneapolis last week.
In Minneapolis protests have raged for over a week with the police trying to crush them with tear gas and making dozens of arrests.
The Washington Post newspaper reported that the police’s “aggressive tactics have injured dozens of protesters and sent dangerous fumes and projectiles into the adjacent apartments, leaving residents sick and fearful in what many describe as a war zone”.
In New York, protesters blocked traffic to protest against police murders. In Oakland in California activists blocked roads.
Anger was heightened in Portland, Oregon, after the police fatally shot Robert Douglas on Friday. He was said to have been in mental distress at the time.
The police declared protests to be a riot. Protesters must stay on the streets to fight a rotten racist system.
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