Things That Matter

Hennepin County Judge Drops Third-Degree Murder Charge Against Derek Chauvin

Update October 22, 2020

A judge dropped the lesser third-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd.

Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill dropped third-degree murder charges against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin was videotaped kneeling on Floyd’s neck while grinning as Floyd died. The judge upheld two other charges against Chauvin, included second-degree murder. If convicted on the second-degree murder charge, Chauvin faces a possible 55 years in prison.

“It was an inappropriate charge from the get-go, and it raised a lot of concerns for us as a community law firm about why that charge was brought,” Sarah Davis, executive director of the Legal Rights Center, told the Minneapolis StarTribune. “It really points to what the community has been saying all along about this prosecution, which is that it truly needs to be truly independent from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.”

Original: It’s been more than two months since the tragic death of George Floyd. Since his death, the country has been struggling on how to cope with yet another senseless loss of a Black man at the hands of police officers. Massive protests have taken place in nearly every corner of the country – or globe for that matter.

Yet, two months after his death we continue to learn new heartbreaking details about the circumstances of his last moments. Newly released body-cam footage, obtained by the Daily Mail show in greater detail the moments leading up to the now infamous video of Officer Chauvin’s knee pressed into George Floyd’s neck. In the leaked footage, we see officers approach a man who was no threat with their guns drawn. We see a panicked Floyd beg officers not to shoot him.

New body-cam footage offers amother perspective into Floyd’s arrest and death.

Newly released, partial footage obtained by the Daily Mail from the body cameras worn by two of the now-former Minneapolis police officers involved in the arrest and death of George Floyd, show a panicked man begging for mercy. The footage reveals in greater detail the events surrounding the horrific arrest that led to Floyd’s death.

The eight-minute video starts with the officers approaching Floyd as he sat in his car, and ordering him to put up his hands. Floyd appears nervous and is immediately apologetic, but doesn’t initially follow their instructions to show his hands. In response, Lane pulls out his handgun and aims it at Floyd. Floyd complies, putting his hands on the wheel and tells the officer he’s sorry and asks what he’s done wrong.

Later in the video, following a struggle in the back of a police car, Officer Thomas Lane can be heard asking Officer Derek Chauvin whether Floyd should be rolled on his side. Floyd died May 25 while in custody, and the incident — which was also recorded on cell phone video — set off protests that soon went worldwide. The demonstrations over his killing and the deaths of other African Americans at the hands of police prompted intense discussions on racism in America.

The footage includes officer Thomas Lane, who at one point aims a gun at Floyd’s face – Floyd begs him not to shoot.

Credit: Karem Yucel / Getty Images

In the video, footage shows police first approach Floyd’s car and asks him to put his hands on the steering wheel. Floyd doesn’t comply with the officer’s demands until Officer Lane draws his gun.

Floyd begs the officer not to shoot, “Please don’t shoot me Mr. Officer,” Floyd says. Lane then gets Floyd to come out of the car and puts him in handcuffs. Officer Kueng can be heard telling Floyd “stop resisting.” 

Lane then begins interviewing a man and woman who were with Floyd in the car. “Why is he getting all squirrely and not showing us his hands?” Lane asks the two. “Because he’s been shot before,” a woman, who identifies herself as Floyd’s ex, tells the officer. 

“He’s a good guy,” the male passenger adds. 

The video then cuts to the two officers leading Floyd to their SUV. As they try to get him to sit in the back of the car, Floyd appears to grow desperate.

Floyd’s family has issued a statement about the newly released footage.

Credit: Dawn Shawnee / Getty Images

Ben Crump, an attorney for the Floyd family, issued a statement to CNN in response to the video’s release:

“The police officers approached him with guns drawn, simply because he was a Black man. As this video shows, he never posed any threat. The officers’ contradictions continue to build. If not for the videos, the world might never have known about the wrongs committed against George Floyd.”

All four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest were fired from the department the following day, and have all been charged in connection to his death. 

Chauvin faces charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter, while the three other officers were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

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A 70-Year-Old Mexican-American Woman Was Attacked Because Her Assailant Thought She Was Asian

Things That Matter

A 70-Year-Old Mexican-American Woman Was Attacked Because Her Assailant Thought She Was Asian

Photo via @the_asian_dawn/Instagram

In another incident that highlights the anti-Asian sentiment that is on the rise in recent months, a 70-year-old California woman was attacked in Eagle Rock, earlier this month. According to news reports, a young woman attacked her while she was exiting the bus to pick up groceries.

The elderly woman, who goes by Becky, is Mexican-American. But her attacker yelled an anti-Asian slur at her before physically assaulting her.

According to AAPI news site Asian Dawn, Becky’s attacker was a 23-year-old woman who was also riding the bus with her. The woman did nothing to provoke the attack. The young woman ended up dragging the older woman from the back of the bus to the front of the bus. Becky ended up in the hospital with a broken nose, a concussion, two severely swollen eyes, and chunks of her hair torn from her head.

According to Becky’s son, who only goes by Pete, while the family are Mexican-American, people often mistake their family for being of Asian descent. According to Pete, no one intervened to stop the young woman from attacking his mother.

“Nobody would help. Not even the bus driver,” the woman’s son told The Eastsider.

Finally, the young woman stopped her attack after a fellow passenger called 911. The police were able to apprehend the young woman after issuing a bulletin for her arrest.

According to Pete, his mother has a long road of recovery ahead of her. Already suffering from lupus and arthritis, her mother is having trouble walking. Her leg is badly bruised from the assault.

The fact that the victim was Mexican-American serves to illustrate how ignorant and hateful these racist attacks are. There is no rhyme or reason to hate.

Many are linking the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the virus originated in Wuhan, China. The violent racists that have been attacking people who appear to be of Asian descent believe that Asian-Americans are somehow personally responsible for the pandemic.

If you to support the #StopAsianHate cause, donate to organizations like gofundme.com/AAPI or the Asian American Legal defense fund here.

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Here’s How You Can Help Daunte Wright’s Family After He Was Killed By Police

Things That Matter

Here’s How You Can Help Daunte Wright’s Family After He Was Killed By Police

Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Police have taken another Black man’s life, this time it’s 20-year-old Daunte Wright. Protests have broken out in cities across the country as the nation reacts to the killing of yet another young Black man.

But as the nation reacts to the murder, Wright’s family – his mother and child – need all the support they can get right now and thankfully there are many ways that we can all be better allies while helping support the family that Wright leaves behind.

Daunte Wright is the third high-profile police murder in Minneapolis.

Daunte Wright was driving to his older brother’s house with his girlfriend on Sunday afternoon, when police pulled him over for expired tags. Police said they found an existing warrant for Wright’s arrest and attempted to handcuff him.

Bodycam footage revealed Officer Kim Potter shot Wright when she claimed to be reaching for her taser. He died on the scene, just 10 miles from where former police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for the death of George Floyd.

According to CNN, Daunte’s death is at least the third high-profile death of a Black man at the hands of police in Minnesota in the last five years. And Daunte Wright’s death comes less than a year after the police killing of George Floyd, which sparked protests around the world.

Daunte Wright leaves behind a family still struggling with such an immense loss.

Daunte’s mother, Katie Wright, spoke out about the fear he experienced before his death. Daunte called her after the police pulled him over, at the suggestion of his older brother. “I know my son was scared. He’s afraid of the police, and I just seen and heard the fear in his voice. But I don’t know why, and it should have never escalated the way it did,” Katie told Good Morning America on April 13.

According to Katie, Daunte believed he was getting pulled over for his hanging air fresheners, then she heard “scuffling” and an officer told him to hang up the phone. “I tried to call back three, four times and the girl that was with him answered the phone and she said that they shot him and he was lying in the driver’s seat unresponsive.”

If you’d like to help support Daunte’s family and demand justice, below are a few resources and action items:

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