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Derek Chauvin Found Guilty For The Murder Of George Floyd 

After three weeks of testimonials, the trial of the former police officer Derek Chauvin has come to a close as he was found guilty on all three charges over the murder of George Floyd. Chauvin, 45, could be sent to prison for up to 40 years pending when he’s sentenced in about two months from now. 

The verdict set off a bittersweet reaction for Americans, who were happy a police officer was held accountable for the unjust murder of an innocent Black person, but an understanding that there is still a lot of work to be done, as there are so many other past victims who’s murderer’s will not face the same consequences Chauvin is. 

“Today we are able to breathe again,” said Philonise Floyd, George’s younger brother, who compared the killing of his brother to the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till, although this time there was cell phone footage to actually show the world first hand what happened. 

“It appeared a lot easier on Chauvin than when my brother was handcuffed before his death, but it still represents accountability. It makes us happier knowing his life mattered, he didn’t die in vain.” 

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The jury was composed of six white and six Black and multiracial individuals who came back with their verdict after about 10 hours of deliberations over two days. Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. His bail was revoked immediately and he will be sentenced in about two months time. 

President Joe Biden reacted to the historic verdict by discussing how “Floyd’s death was a murder in full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see systemic racism. It’s not enough. We can’t stop here. We’re going to deliver real change and reform. We can and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that tragedies like this will ever happen again.”

A park next to the Minneapolis courthouse held a crowd of about 300 people who went silent as the verdict was being announced. Then, shouts and cheers of celebration could be heard for miles all throughout the nation. 

Janay Henry, who lives nearby, said she felt “grateful and relieved. I feel grounded. I can feel my feet on the concrete. I’m looking forward to the next case with joy and optimism and strength. There’s some form of justice that’s coming.”

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According to the Associated Press, “out of the thousands of deadly police shootings in the U.S. since 2005, fewer than 140 officers have been charged with murder or manslaughter. Before Tuesday, only seven were convicted of murder.”

Floyd’s death sparked one of the largest civil rights movements this country has ever seen. Individuals who were around for the original movement in the 1950’s and 60’s said that the Black Lives Matter demonstrations from the past year have been some of the largest they’ve ever seen. Darnella Drazier’s video of the murder is what sparked the movement and call for action against Chauvin and the three other officers at the scene of the murder. 

Frazier said Chauvin gave the bystanders a “cold and “heartless stare. We all felt a sense of helplessness and lingering guilt from witnessing Floyd’s slow-motion death. It’s been nights I stayed up, apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more, and not physically interacting and not saving his life,” she testified.

BJ Wilder is a 39-year-old Minneapolis resident who told the press that he sees the drive for change that this case has caused, and while it’s infuriating that another innocent Black person had to be killed to get the rest of the country to wake up, there is hope, it’s in the hands of the government now though.

“I’m hopeful that Chauvin’s conviction will be a turning point that leads to an awakening in America and accountability for officer misconduct.”
This is something different. This is new, we’ve been here so many times before and honestly the first thing that I really thought about was the Rodney King situation,” Wilder said referring to the acquittal of four Los Angeles police officers who had beaten King — an event that led to the 1992 Los Angeles riots. “And I thought it could have been something similar to that, just because we all saw that too. And this feels like — just feels like we can breathe. This feels like something new. It’s hopefully a new day in America.”
Transgender Flag

Massive Protests Erupt In Response To Multiple Murders Of Black Transgender Women In America

Riah Milton was 25 and Dominique Fells was 27; both were black trans women, and both were murdered. The two victims were discovered a couple of weeks ago within the same week of eachother in what advocacy groups are calling the latest deaths in an epidemic facing transgender people; but more specifically black trans women.

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Minneapolis Officer Responsible For George Floyd’s Death Charged With Third-Degree Murder

His name was George Floyd and his murder has sparked a huge demand for social justice and change amid a worldwide pandemic.

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Captain America Actress Charged With Second Degree Murder

Captain America: The First Avenger actress Mollie Fitzgerald has been arrested in Kansas City and charged with second degree murder after she allegedly killed her mother.

Fitzgerald’s mother – Patricia ‘Tee’ Fitzgerald, 68 – was discovered inside her Olathe home on 20 December 2019 and had been stabbed to death by a single stab wound. Her daughter has been jailed at the Johnson County Jail on a $500,000 bond. It is unclear whether she has retained an attorney as yet.

Police have confirmed that “a 38 year old white female, known to the victim, was contacted on scene and transported to a local hospital with minor injuries. This case remains under investigation by the Olathe Police Department.”

As well as acting, Mollie Fitzgerald was trying to make a name for herself as a filmmaker, however, she was most noted for her role as Stark Girl in the 2011 movie. She also worked as Joe Johnston’s assistant director and the two worked together again in 2014 on the crime thriller The Lawful Truth which was both written and directed by Fitzgerald with Johnston starring. They also collaborated on The Creeps and Fitzgerald is currently working on the documentary Fireball.

While filming the Avengers film – a movie that took over $370 million at the box office worldwide – Fitzgerald said that “being a part of this production has been one of the best experiences of my life.”

Fitzgerald’s most recent on screen work was in 2018 when she appeared in Trouble Is My Business.

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Patricia Fitzgerald had spent the last few decades living in Houston with her husband of 40 years Terry – who was described in her obituary as the “love of her life” – and was in moving back to Kansas City.

Her brother Gary Hunziker confirmed he was not aware of the details surrounding her death stating “we were shocked. It doesn’t matter the circumstances – the loss of a sister is what it’s all about.”

Police have confirmed that they are not looking for anyone else in relation to the incident confirming that “everyone involved in the incident has been identified.”

Fitzgerald is not the first entertainer to be involved in a homicide case.

In May 2014 actor Michael Jace, who appeared in The Shield, was arrested for the murder of his wife who he shot in front of their two children and was convicted of second-degree murder in 2016. While in 1993 both Snoop Dogg and his bodyguard were arrested over the fatal shooting of rival gang member Philip Woldemariam. While Snoop’s bodyguard was acquitted claiming he shot Woldemariam in self-defense, it was not until 1996 that Snoop was also acquitted.

Police charged Soprano’s actor Lillo Brancato Jr. with second-degree murder after an off duty police officer was fatally shot in 2005. Although he was acquitted of murder he was eventually jailed for 10 years in prison for attempted burglary, being released on parole in 2013.

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Back in 1979 Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious was arrested and subsequently charged with stabbing to death his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. Police found Vicious slumped in the hallway in a drug-induced haze and he admitted to the murder. He was released on bail and died seven weeks later after overdosing on heroin at a party.

In 2010 celebrity chef Juan-Carlos Cruz was charged with soliciting murder after it was claimed he had paid two homeless people to kill his wife. Cruz pled no contest to the charge however he was charged to nine years in prison, although it is expected that he will only spend between four and five years behind bars as Cruz had not committed a violent felony.

Record producer Phil Spector was found guilty of the shooting of Lana Clarkson in 2003. Despite claiming that Spector had witnessed Clarkson committing suicide, Spector was found guilty and sentenced to a minimum of 18 years in jail. Due to the first trial ending in a hung jury during 2007, Spector lived for six years on bail before finally being put away in 2008.

One of the most famous cases in recent times was that of Olympian Oscar Pistorius, who was charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Although Pistorius admitted firing through a bathroom door he continued to claim he thought there was an intruder in the house. However Pistorius was finally jailed for six years for murder in July 2016.

Finally, NFL star O.J. Simpson was charged with the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Despite a high profile case dubbed ‘The Trial of the Century’, Simpson was found not guilty in 1995. However Simpson and Goldman’s families subsequently filed a civil suit against him and he was ordered to pay them $33.5 million for the wrongful deaths in 1997. Simpson continues to deny he had anything to do with the murders that split the nation with just as many American citizens believing him guilty as those who believe he is innocent. The case has been listed as unsolved.

Football

Sport Teams United In Grief After Shooting

Supporters at a high school football game in New Jersey were forced to run to safety when gunfire broke out.

The match between home team the Pleasantville Greyhounds and the Camden Panthers had attracted a good family crowd when shots were heard at 8:30pm on a friendly Friday evening, an hour outside of Philadelphia.

And while a 27-year-old man was left needing surgery he was confirmed to be in a stable condition. However, the police found a gun in his possession and he now faces weapons charges over the incident.

A 15-year-old boy was also treated in hospital for a graze wound.

Unfortunately 10-year-old Micah Tennant was also caught in the crossfire and sadly passed away from his injuries in hospital just 5 days later.

Police have already arrested and charged five suspects in connection with the shooting with Alvin Wyatts being charged with murder, attempted murder, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

Wyatt’s accomplices – Tyrell Dorn, 28; Vance Golden, 26; Michael Mack, 27 and Shahid Dixon, 27 – have also faced charges of unlawful possession of a weapon and certain persons not to possess a weapon.

Damon G. Tyner, Atlantic County Prosecutor announced:

‘We would like to express our sincere condolences to the Tennant family on the tragic passing of Micah. Words at this time seem so insufficient to portray the anger and outrage that our community feels regarding his loss. However, his spirit will live on in so many people.’

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A ‘devastated’ Gov. Phil Murphy also released a statement announcing:

‘No child deserves to have their promising life cut short, especially by indiscriminate and senseless gun violence. No parent deserves to bury their child. We will hold [Michah’s] memory close, and we will remember his name, as we continue our work to make New Jersey safer for all of our families.’

A Facebook post by the Pleasantville Police Department confirmed they were sending their ‘deepest sympathy’ and ‘strongest possible support’ to Micah’s family.

In response to the postponed game, the neutral ground of The Philadelphia Eagles hosted the suspended playoff match.

And only hours after young Micah lost his life, Lincoln Financial Field Stadium held a moment’s silence in his memory, with both teams locking arms and some athletes wearing the number 10 out of respect on their uniforms.

The stadium’s announcer informed spectators ‘our thoughts are with his family, his loved ones and all impacted by this news. Today, we join Micah’s family and this community to demonstrate that acts of violence do not win’.

The scoreboard then had 4:58 entered to show how much time had been left of the game before it was brutally cut short, a reminder that it does not matter where you are, no venue is safe from gun violence.

A stark difference to the words the young players often hear from their coaches. With sport being used as a tool to keep teens away from gang culture, Camden’s coach Dwayne Savage revealed how ‘we always preach to our guys, that’s our safe haven. We forget about all our problems on the football field.’

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A GoFundMe page was created to raise much needed medical funds for ‘Dew’ as he was affectionately known and has already had over $30,000 donated. However the news of his death has seen money continue to pour in.

CNN affiliate WPVI appears to show the chaos in the aftermath of the shooting, with both athletes and attendees running away from the gunfire. As well as diving under bleachers and hopping over fences, some people were seen lying down on the field.

Sadly with an apparent increase in gun crime this incident is not a rarity and Micah Tennat was not the only casualty of gun violence this week.

In November we have seen two people killed and three injured at a high school in California; four people died and a further six were wounded at a party, also in California while three people – possibly including the gunman – were killed at a Walmart in Oklahoma.

These incidents occurred within 5 days of each other leaving many Americans asking what is being done about gun violence.

So far there has been 370 mass shootings in the U.S. so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. A mass shooting is classed as an ‘incident in which four or more people, not including the shooter, were shot but not necessarily killed’.

This is equal to around eight mass shootings per week.

However mass shootings only equate to a small percentage of death by shooting. In 2017 40,000 people died as a result of a shooting incident – including suicide – which works out to an average of 109 per day.

That’s more than four people being killed by guns every hour.