As they unintentionally became the face of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 for their deaths at the hands of white people, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers and those affiliated with their deaths have either been convicted or sentenced to serve time for violating their civil rights.
After fatally shooting Arbery in February 2020, father and son Travis and Greg McMichael and their neighbor, William Bryan, were convicted earlier this year and recently found guilty on federal hate crime charges among others. All three of the men face at least life sentence-–the most of any of the three victims’ murderers.
“They all died wrongful deaths. They did not choose to be the name of the revolution but they are. The deep-rooted hate against black people out of pure racism is getting exhausting,” Shaniyah Frazier, a senior international relations major, said.
In March 2020, Taylor was shot multiple times during a botched raid in her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky. On Aug. 4, the Department of Justice charged Joshua Jaynes, a former Louisville Metropolitan Police Department (LMPD) detective, Kyle Meany, the current LMPD sergeant, Brett Hankison, a former LMPD detective who actually fired the shot into Taylor’s apartment, and current LMPD Detective Keely Goodlett with federal civil rights charges for their involvement in her death.
Hankison was previously charged with endangering the lives of Taylor’s neighbors during the raid. Before this month, he was the only officer facing any charges. The officers were charged with unlawful conspiracy, civil rights offenses and unconstitutional use of force and obstruction, although none have been charged for the actual shooting. Goodlett was accused of falsifying a search warrant and filing a false report to cover it up. She intends to plead guilty to all federal charges this month.
Some students, like senior international relations major, Nama Taha, believe this is a step toward justice.
“The justice system needs to apply just as equally to the people that enforce it. People who carry prejudices should never be placed in a position where they can have power over other people’s lives,” Taha said.
Taylor’s family received a $12 million settlement six months after her death. It did not require Louisville, Kentucky to admit any wrongdoing.
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who is responsible for Floyd’s death which in turn ignited a global onslaught of protests and demonstrations, was sentenced to 22.5 years in federal prison for violating Floyd’s federal civil rights. Rookie Minneapolis police officers, Tou Thao, who was Chauvin’s partner present when he murdered Floyd, and J. Alexander Kueng, who was the only Black officer involved, received three-and-a-half and three years respectively in federal prison.
Eight corrections officers of color, who were prohibited from guarding Chauvin in May 2020, are receiving a nearly $1.5 million settlement for racial discrimination. Frazier is not pleased with the monetary settlements, proclaiming that the only justice for the lives of Taylor, Floyd and Arbery is jail time. She still, however, has hope for justice.
“Money isn’t justice. No one should be above the law. A wrongful death needs to end with jail time,” Frazier said. “If we continue to rally and show what we expect out of our judicial system. I believe we will see change.”
For more information about cases against Black victims, visit https://sayevery.name/.
Copy edited by Alana B. Matthew