Minneapolis, MN– The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) is recommending the prosecution to the fullest extent of the law, the ex-police officer, who publicly murdered an unarmed African-American male in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer involved in George Floyd’s death has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced the charges on Friday, May 29, 2020 shortly after Chauvin was taken into custody by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
ALJA says though it welcomes former officer Chauvin’s recent arrest, charge and detention, it is calling for the elevation of the third- degree murder and manslaughter charges levied against him to first degree murder.
On May 25, 2020, former officer Derek Chauvin and three other dismissed officers of the Minneapolis Police Department in response to a 911 call in Minneapolis arrested Mr. George Floyd for allegedly passing a counterfeit US $20.00 bill.
Then the dismissed officers handcuffed and pinned Mr. Floyd to the ground. While cuffed and pinned to the ground by the former officers, Chauvin knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than eight excruciating minutes. The late Floyd cried for breath and pleaded with the former officer to get-off of his neck, but he remained adamant. As a result, the powerless African-American man died in full public view.
In a press release issued on June 1, 2020, ALJA called on the Minnesota State authorities and the federal government to ensure that the accused former officer faces the full weight of the law. The Association asserted that Chauvin’s action was intentional, cruel and uncivilized.
ALJA says former officer Chauvin’s brazen murder of the unarmed and powerless black man in full public view despite repeated pleas from the victim and bystanders can be adjudged as premeditation and therefore subject to a first-degree murder charge. Moreover, ALJA maintains the action has inflamed racial tension in the country and further exacerbated the mistrust which exists between the police and minorities, especially people of color.
Meanwhile, the Association is urging the authorities in Minnesota and the federal government to also, arrest, detain and subsequently prosecute the other three former Minneapolis police officers, who aided and abetted former officer Chauvin in Mr. Floyd’s murder.
ALJA says the Minnesota authority and the federal government must ensure that the Floyd family and all Americans regardless of racial and ethnic orientations are given an immediate and impartial justice in this matter because all human lives are precious irrespective of the person’s racial, socio-economic and religious orientations.
The Association emphasized that the late Floyd’s death must not be treated as business as usual because the former officer and his accomplices’ action if not punished, has the propensity of further eroding the people, especially African-Americans’ trust and confidence in the police and the American criminal justice system.
ALJA says as Africans who are reside in the United States, they are equally hurt and troubled by former officer Chauvin and his accomplices’ heartless treatment of the late Floyd, but they are passionately pleading for an end to the widespread street protests and called on all parties to work together in bringing Justice to Mr. Floyd’s killers and finding a lasting solution to the issues of police brutality and systemic racism in the country.
Meanwhile the Association is condemning the recent arrest of CNN’s reporter Omar Jiménez and his crew by Minnesota police officers while conducting a live broadcast of the ongoing protest on Friday, May 29 2020.
The crew has since been released and the governor of Minnesota has issued a formal apology for the incident. ALJA is also expressing concern about isolated acts of harassment of Journalists by some of the protestors. The Association stressed the important role of the press, especially in these times, to ensuring that a platform is provided for the multiplicity of voices to be heard.