The George Floyd verdict has signaled a win for people of color and allies in the fight against police brutality. Derek Chauvin, the officer arrested for his passing, was found guilty in a court proceeding that kept the world glued to their screen and social media feeds for the better part of the pandemic.
While this has been a crucial step in the right direction for a system that continues to fail people of color while giving these officers a pass, it still doesn’t alleviate the tremendous amount of work that still needs to be done. Two other people of color lost their lives to cops within days of the verdict, with Chauvin’s own past coming to late revealing that Floyd was not his first instance of excessive force.
On April 12th, a young black man in Tennessee lost his life to police after his girlfriends mother called the police on him. Anthony J. Thompson Jr., a 17-year-old student at Austin-East Magnet High School.
The teen had been involved in a dispute with his girlfriend Alexus Page, also a student at Austin-Esst Magnet High School. Page’s mother Regina Perkins called 911 after her daughter was sent home from school following a physical altercation with Thompson. Police came to the school and engaged in a stand off with Thompson in the bathroom, which resulted in him being fatally wounded.
Ma’Khia Bryant suffered a similar fate the day of Chauvin’s guilty verdict. The Ohio teen called the police herself, after a fight with her foster siblings became physical. The teen and her two foster sisters were bickering over cleaning up, and the fight unfortunately escalated. When police arrived, Bryant and the girls were engaged in an all out brawl, with Bryant accused of wielding a knife. Police could not deescalate the fight and which resulted in her also being fatally wounded.
Chauvin is accused of also physically assaulting a teen prior to his now infamous interaction with Floyd. Via TMZ, “police and prosecutors have been sent a video of Chauvin using the exact same tactic that killed George Floyd on another person. In 2017, a 14-year-old Black child was rendered unconscious after Chauin gashed his head with a flashlight and kneeled on the boy’s neck for 17 minutes while screaming, ‘I can’t breathe!'”
They continued “The story goes that a mother called the police to report that she was being attacked by her 14-year-old son and her daughter. Chauvin was the responding officer and enacted the violence after the boy wouldn’t comply with his orders. The video shows Chauvin kneeling on the boy’s neck for 8 minutes before changing positions and choking him for another 9 minutes.”