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50 Ann. Rev. Crim. Proc. i (2021)
The Death of George Floyd, the Trial of Derek Chauvin, and Deadly-Force Encounters with Police: Have We Finally Reached an Inflection Point? Or Will the Cycle of Inaction Continue?

handle is hein.journals/anrvcpr50 and id is 10 raw text is: 50 Geo. L.J. Ann. Rev. Crim. Proc. (2021)

KEITH ELLISON, Minnesota Attorney General*
Mama! George Floyd, 46, cried out in the waning moments of his life. Mama!
I'm through, gasped Floyd as Derek Chauvin ground his knee into Floyd's neck and
face into the asphalt road surface. I can't breathe, Floyd declared at least fifteen
times during the first four minutes of seventeen-year-old Darnella Frazier's smart-
phone video. Then his voice faded, his pleas grew further apart, and he eventually
went silent. Bystanders, shocked, appalled, and armed with smartphones, pleaded
seventeen times with officers to check Floyd's pulse.
As the world knows, George Floyd would not survive.
Do the worldwide demands for justice following the death of George Floyd and
the trial and conviction of Derek Chauvin for Floyd's murder mean we have finally
reached an inflection point when it comes to deadly-force encounters with police? It
The case of George Floyd was not typical, but no case is.
There are approximately 1,000 deaths at the hands of police a year.' That number
has held constant for many years, including since the death of George Floyd. Floyd's
death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers on May 25, 2020 was not typical for
many reasons.
First, although many police-involved deaths of unarmed civilians happen at the
split-second flash of a gunshot, the death of George Floyd at the hands of then-
Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin-aided and abetted, the State of
Minnesota alleged, by three others-took place not in a split second-as the State
of Minnesota proved at the trial of Derek Chauvin-but over nine minutes and
twenty-nine seconds, half of them after Floyd had lost consciousness and become
non-responsive, then died. That's 569 seconds, not a single one of them split.
Also rare was the social-media virality of the bystander video of the death of
George Floyd. Millions of people saw George Floyd die. In too many cases, there has
been no video evidence of the deaths of unarmed civilians at the hands of law
* Keith Ellison serves as the Minnesota Attorney General. He was the lead prosecutor in the matter of the
May 2020 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and led the team that successfully convicted former
Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on a charge of second-degree unintentional murder, which resulted
in the longest sentence of any police officer for killing a civilian while on duty in Minnesota. Attorney General
Ellison is a former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives and Minnesota House of Representatives.
Attorney General Ellison is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School and Wayne State University.
© 2021, Keith Ellison.
1. Mark Berman, John Sullivan, Julie Tate & Jennifer Jenkins, Protests Spread Over Police Shootings.
Police Promised Reforms. Every Year, They Still Shoot and Kill Nearly 1,000 People, WASH. Post (June 8,
2020), https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/protests-spread-over-police-shootings-police-
promised-reforms-every-year-they-still-shoot-nearly-1000-people/2020/06/08/5c204f0c-a67c-11 ea-b473-
04905b 1af82bstory.html.


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