Attorney Lauren P. Raysor said that the guilty verdict handed to former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is long overdue, since too many communities of color have been victimized by questionable and, at times, unlawful tactics used by police in making an arrest.
On May 25, 2020, Mr. Chauvin, who was on the force at the time, tried to handcuff George Floyd by placing his knee on the back of Mr. Floyd’s neck for nine-and-a-half minutes. Although Mr. Floyd told him he couldn’t breathe, Mr. Chauvin continued to press his knee behind Mr. Floyd’s neck. Mr. Floyd was later transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The next day, Mr. Chauvin was fired from the force. On May 29, 2020, he was arrested in the death of Mr. Floyd and charged with murder and manslaughter. On April 20, 2021, a jury found Mr. Chauvin guilty on three charges: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The charges carry a combined maximum sentence of 75 years.
“I am relieved that some semblance of justice can be found in this verdict,” Ms. Raysor said. “Every time a police officer is on trial for the death of an African-American citizen, they are usually found not guilty for one reason or the other. Now that this verdict has been rendered, I hope that the police departments across the U.S. will clean house and reform their practices so that they can no longer demonstrate any forms of hostility on persons of color.”
Ms. Raysor concentrates her practice in civil rights, representing those who are arrested during a traffic stop for no reason or as a result of racial profiling, experience negligence while in jail or prison, or use of excessive force. She also founded the Mount Vernon Coalition for Police Reform, which is comprised of former police officers, civil rights attorneys, former city officials and other concerned individuals seeking ways to improve the practices of the Mount Vernon Police Department.