Things That Matter

The Justice Department Has Brought Forth Federal Criminal Charges Against Derek Chauvin And 3 Other Police Officers

Updated May 13, 2021.

The crowd outside the Minneapolis courtroom and at the location of George Floyd’s murder broke into a rallying cry of relief in April when it was revealed that former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty. Jurors overseeing his trial came to the decision which was greeted with chants of “justice” and “Black Lives Matter” which broke out on the streets.

After reading the jury’s verdicts in April, Judge Peter Cahill revealed that they found Chauvin guilty of all three counts.

Chauvin, 45, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. 

Despite his plea of not guilty Chauvin (who knelt on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed) was convicted of the charges that accused him of causing Floyd’s death by “perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life” and “culpable negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm” according to CNN

Soon after reading the verdict, Judge Peter Cahill thanked the jurors for their service in the case remarking “I have to thank you on behalf of the people of the state of Minnesota, for not only jury service, but heavy-duty jury service.”

The Justice Department has now filed federal criminal charges against Derek Chauvin as well as three other former police officers at the scene of Floyd’s death.

The Justice Department has accused Chauvin of using excessive force and violating the civil rights of George Floyd. The three other officers, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, have also been charged federally for their part in Floyd’s death. According to NPR, “two of the men, Kueng and Thao, are accused of failing to intervene to stop Chauvin. All three face a charge of failing to provide medical care with ‘deliberate indifference’ to Floyd’s suffering. They already are preparing for a state trial in August.”

In an update about their trials, AP News reported that the “trial of three former Minneapolis police officers charged with aiding and abetting in the death of George Floyd will be pushed back to March 2022, in part to allow the publicity over Derek Chauvin’s conviction to cool off, a judge ruled Thursday.”

In response to the verdicts, the attorney Ben Crump and George Floyd’s family released a statement describing it as going far beyond Minneapolis and underlining how it has “significant implications for the country and even the world.”

“Painfully earned justice has arrived for George Floyd’s family and the community here in Minneapolis, but today’s verdict goes far beyond this city and has significant implications for the country and even the world. Justice for Black America is justice for all of America. This case is a turning point in American history for accountability of law enforcement and sends a clear message we hope is heard clearly in every city and every state. We thank Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and his team for their fierce dedication to justice for George. But it does not end here. We have not forgotten that the other three officers who played their own roles in the death of George Floyd must still be held accountable for their actions, as well,” the statement read.

Soon after the verdicts were read Chauvin was handcuffed and taken into custody by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.

The sentencing will take place in eight weeks from today.

Nearly a year has passed since the death of George Floyd but the fight for justice carried on. During the trial, released transcripts of body camera footage show that Floyd had pled for his life and told officers at least 27 times that he couldn’t breathe before his death.

The opening statements of Derek Chauvin’s criminal trial took place in late March and revealed shocking details on the case of George Floyd. One of the biggest revelations came from the prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell that Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds rather than the commonly believed 8 minutes and 46 seconds. In addition to this, is the reveal that it was in fact a 911 dispatcher who witnessed George Floyd’s death last May.

Watching the incident through a nearby police camera, Jena Scurry was in fact the person who called the police on the police officer.

Jena Scurry is the dispatcher who first raised the alarm about Floyd’s death.

“You’re going to learn that there was a 911 dispatcher. Her name is Jena Scurry,” special prosecutor Jerry Blackwell stated during an opening statement on behalf of the state “There was a fixed police camera that was trained on this particular scene. She could see through the camera what was going on. You will learn that what she saw was so unusual and, for her, so disturbing that she did something that she had never done in her career.”

Watching what was happening, Scurry reportedly became so worried by what she saw Chauvin and the three other officers taking part in that she called Minneapolis Sgt. David Pleoger. Ultimately it was Pleoger who managed the officers involved in the murder

“My instincts were telling me something was wrong,” Scurry explained to prosecutors that took place during the trial at Hennepin County Courthouse this past Monday. “It was a gut instinct of the incident: Something is not going right. Whether it be they needed more assistance. Just something wasn’t right.”

Scurry testified that while she could not remember when she called police she was moved to take action after an uncomfortable “extended period of time.” 

At one point, the defense noted that it took some time for Scurry to call Chauvin’s sergeant. In fact, it took nearly 30 minutes from when the dispatcher received the first 911 call about Floyd. She also stated during her testimony that she became concerned when she saw the police vehicle “rocking bath and forth” while Floyd was inside.

Scurry was actually one of “at least three people who called for police intervention as she watched Chauvin kneel on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds during his May 25 arrest outside a downtown convenience store, according to Blackwell,” according to CNN.

On the eighth day of Chauvin’s criminal trial, the special agent who led investigation into George Floyd’s death changed his mind on what he thought he heard Floyd say while Chauvin was kneeling on his neck.

Senior Special Agent James Reyerson who led the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was shown a clip from Minneapolis Police body-camera footage of Floyd during his murder. In the clip, Floyd can be heard something while handcuffed, his stomach pressed to the ground.

“Did it appear that Mr. Floyd said, ‘I ate too many drugs?” Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson asked Reyerson.

“Yes, it did,” Reyerson replied.

After, what CNN describes as “a short break,” the prosecution played an extended clip of the video for for Reyerson.

“Having heard it in context, are you able to tell what Mr. Floyd is saying there?” the prosecutoing attorney Matthew Frank asked.

“Yes, I believe Mr. Floyd was saying, ‘I ain’t do no drugs,” Reyerson replied.

Top-ranking police officials from the Minneapolis Police Department, including the city’s police chief, testified that Chauvin’s use of force against George Floyd was a violation of protocols.

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, Lt. Richard Zimmerman, and Chauvin’s currently-retired former supervisor, Sgt. David Pleoger, testified against him this week during his murder trial for his murder of Floyd. Arradondo testified against Chauvin on Monday said that he “vehemently disagreed” with Chauvin’s use of force against Floyd on May 25, 2020.

“There’s an initial reasonableness in trying to get him under control in the first few seconds,” Arradondo told the jury. “But once there was no longer any resistance — and clearly when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive and even motionless — to continue to apply that level of force to a person prone down, handcuffed behind their back … that in no way, shape, or form is part of our policy, is not part of our training, and is not part of our ethics and values.”

The prosecution team played bystander video of Floyd’s murder during the opening statement and accused Chauvin of violating the oath of his badge.

The prosecutor stated that he also betrayed his post when he refused to help Floyd when he pleaded “I can’t breathe.”

“We plan to prove to you that he’s anything other than innocent,” Blackwell said in his statement.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Michael Jordan Says His Final Text Messages With Kobe Bryant Were About Good Tequila

Entertainment

Michael Jordan Says His Final Text Messages With Kobe Bryant Were About Good Tequila

A little over a year has passed since the tragic news of NBA star Kobe Bryant’s death made headlines. The shooting guard‘s sudden death in Calabasas, California, rocked the worlds of his family, friends, former teammates, and many of his fans. On Feb. 24, a public memorial service held at Staples Center saw various people in his life give speeches, including his wife Vanessa Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and his longtime friend and rival Michael Jordan. The former Chicago Bulls player gave a heart-rendering speech filled with fond memories of Bryant and tears. A year later, the former shooting guard admits that he still gets choked up when he remembered Bryant.

According to Jordan, he becomes particularly emotional when reflecting on the 17-month old text messages between him and his old friend.

In a recent interview with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, Jordan revealed that his final messages with Bryant were about family, basketball, and tequila.

In a series of text messages that took place weeks before Bryant’s death, Jordan says that he and the late basketball icon spoke about their family and good tequila. The two basketball players last texted seven weeks before Bryant’s death on Dec. 8, 2019.

“This tequila is awesome,” Bryant wrote in a text to Jordan. The message was about Jordan’s tequila brand, which he had sent to his formal rival.

In response, Jordan said, “Thank you, my brother.”

Bryant: “Yes, sir. Family good?”

Jordan: “All good. Yours?”

Bryant “All good.”

“He was just so happy,” Jordan explained to MacMullan. “He was doing so well.”

Jordan explained in his interview that at this point in his life, Bryant was fully invested in coaching his late daughter Gigi.

“Happy holidays,” Jordan went onto text Bryant in the message string, “and hope to catch up soon. Coach Kobe??!”

Bryant replied, “Ah, back at you, man. Hey, coach, I’m sitting on the bench right now, and we’re blowing this team out. 45-8.”

Jordan explained that Bryant had found so much joy in coaching his daughter’s basketball team.

Speaking about the text thread, Jordan told ESPN, “I just love that text, because it shows Kobe’s competitive nature.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

All The Reasons Why Married Women Are Keeping Their Last Names

Fierce

All The Reasons Why Married Women Are Keeping Their Last Names

While in many cultures and world and circles it might be considered tradition for a woman to “take” her husband’s last name, many women have opted to buck tradition. In 2017, a study found that nearly half of Americans believe women should be required by law to adopt the last names of their husbands. It’s a reminder that despite all of the progress we’ve made as women— where now we are able to drive on roads, drive the vote, and even drive entire companies— social conventions still have quite a ways to go.

Below, women are sharing the reasons why they didn’t change their last names.

“I hate the “isn’t your name a man’s name anyway” argument. When do I ever get to own my name? Men own their name from birth, apparently women just borrow their surname from their dad and then from their husband. It’s ridiculous.”- pan_alice

“I came here to reply but honestly you’ve said it perfectly.

My sister asked me ‘but what if you have children!?’ And I said ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ? A name does not a family make. My fiancé’s mum never changed her name. I haven’t heard of any legitimate reason why I should change my name.”- vanessaj1990

“The “but what about the children” argument I see from time to time on Reddit makes me laugh, because where I live, married women HAVE to keep their original surname, which means often families with children are “Mr Smith, Mrs Jones, and their kids Alex Smith, Bart Smith and Christine Smith”. AND NO ONE GETS CONFUSED.”- ChibiSailorMercury

“I was shocked when, after about a year, that the majority of the comments I got were “I wish I had kept mine.” There are a lot of rude people in the beginning, but the majority of people don’t give a fuck or think the idea is great.”- Pethoarder4life

“Big yes on being known professionally as my own name. I’m one year away from getting my MD. I’m the one earning that and the one who published research and did conference presentations. Not my partner.”- elwynbrooks

“I came here to say this but you said more eloquently than I ever could. It is MY name. Why change it? I informed people when asked I won’t be changing my name and neither will my husband.”- WINTERSONG1111

“I feel the exact same and have the same reasons as you for keeping my name!! My partner and I do want children so I’m trying to navigate that right now. Wonder if anyone has any tips abt that!!!”- TacoSluuut

“I don’t want to get married, but THIS, also I love my last name and don’t think I should change it cause of a man, I find it fucking sexist, where im originally from it doesn’t work that way, and I’m GLAD. I have an uncommon Dutch last name I can’t imagine changing it. Also if you marry and have kids your kids get both parents lasts names.”- sadqnn

“That’s same with my parents. They kept their last name but and my siblings have a hyphenated last name. Same with my cousin’s.”- -captaindumbass-

“I like my name, simple as that.

A lot of women in my family have kept our family name because it’s somewhat rare. There’s like 200 people with this surname, and about 50 of them are in my family, and most of us keep the name regardless of gender, when we marry.”- amazingstillitseems

“A childhood friend of mine only had a first name and a last name, (like, Mary Smith) when as far as I knew, everyone had a middle name. She explained that her father only gave her the two names, because one day she would marry and drop her middle name anyway. (And I thought, what if she didnt marry? Couldn’t she drop his name?) Even as a kid, I thought this was horrible reasoning.

In genealogical circles, this leads to Mary NMI Smith (No Middle Initial) and Mary NMN Smith (No Middle Name.)

I was married 40+ years ago and kept my maiden name.”- SilverVixen1928

“I’m a guy and dislike my last name and the people who gave it to me, I would honestly consider taking her name because fuck gender norms.”- arrowff

“I’m one of 2 people in the world with my exact surname, as far as I know. There’s no way I’m giving it up, and I hope my kids want to carry it on someday.”- TossItThrowItFly

“Same here. Married 14 years with two kids. Never changed my name. It’s been a complete non-issue. Occasionally my husband gets called “Mr. Mylastname” or I get called “Ms. Hislastname” but neither of us care.”- Misschiff0

“Im on my second marriage and both times my husband changed his name to mine. People kinda shrug when they figure out I didn’t change my name but I do get some open-mouthed stares when they realized that my husband changed his name…

I just don’t see any reason to change my name, my first husband found it convenient to change his with weird spelling and difficult pronunciation. For my second husband it was important to him that we had the same name, so he changed his.”- SteelQueenToo

“My father changed his name to my mother’s name as well, but I actually don’t really know why. I guess they liked it better? It is kind of random I guess. He just told me it can kind of suck because people don’t realise you are the same person if they lost touch or something.”- leedzah

“I didn’t change my name for all the reasons already cited about, but when someone sends me an invitation with Mrs [husband’s Last Name], I don’t even bother to correct them. I didn’t care about the hassles of changing mine and I made a name for myself professionally before I got married so I stood firm to not change mine. It raised a couple of eyebrows but my mother and her mum didn’t change theirs also, so pulling the cultural card really helped.

Speaking of culture, I come from one that places massive respect for the elder so it’s okay for some older relatives who can’t adjust as well or have bad memories to call me whatever, I will graciously respond to them as the Mrs.”-

“I didn’t want to take his name as I believe marriage is a partnership. We’re marrying each other, not me marrying him only. So we were going to choose a new surname together but one that was in the family to signify the unity but never really got it sorted so we still have our own surnames.

People always assume I have his surname or that we’re not married.”- Hulahoop81

“I grew up in a privileged area which had a very little variety of cultures. Being from an Eastern European background with a different surname, I was badly bullied for it as it wasn’t “normal”. This made me super embarrassed of it when I was younger. As I got older I grew to become very proud of my heritage and surname. Therefore, I kept it as its me. And I’m proud of it.

Edit: when I tell people the above, most people just say ‘fair enough.’”- natalieb07

“This. I’m from Puerto Rico, and people rarely do this. It’s actually considered weird when people do change their last name. We just have two last names: our father’s and our mother’s.

ETA: Forgot to say that, although not super common, it still happens. Some women keep their full last names, but then tack on their husband’s first last name with a “de” preceding it. Marta Quintero Arenas married Pedro Quiñones Balboa. She decides to keep both last names, but also wants to add her husband’s first last name? She could do Marta Quintero Arenas de Quiñones. The “de” is basically an ‘of.’”- chromachord

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com