Human Rights & Public Liberties

Human Rights & Public Liberties

Published on: 13 Jan, 2021

To what extent do “Black Lives” matter?

Published on: 3 May, 2021

By: Oman Al Yahyai


Only a day after Dereck Chauvin was charged guilty of murdering George Floyd, a North Carolina black man was also killed by the police. Andrew Brown was a 42-year-old man who was suddenly shot during an attempted arrest. This has caused a lot of anger across the U.S., especially for the Black Lives Matter movement as other black individuals were also killed a of couple days before:   Daunte Wright and Ma’Khia Bryant.


As black people seem to consistently be killed by the police recently, this raises important questions: how will the Dereck Chauvin conviction have an impact on how the justice system treats officers who commit crimes, and what does history have to do with the fact that black individuals are more often than not targeted by the police?


Will the Dereck Chauvin conviction cause a change?

Concerning the George Floyd murder and the Dereck Chauvin trial, the video in which we can see Dereck Chauvin sitting on George Floyd, saying that he couldn’t breathe went viral rapidly. The whole video was out for the public to see and that played a huge role in why Chauvin was found guilty.


In the Andrew Brown case, a North Carolina judge has ruled that the body-cam footage from the four officers who were involved will not be released publicly at this time which has caused anger and frustration from the family and the public.


Ben Crump, a Civil Rights Advocate and founder of the National Law Firm “Ben Crump Law”, tweets his disappointment at the judge’s decision saying that it is important to have video evidence to try to get justice as we did in the George Floyd case.

Ben Crump, a Civil Rights Advocate and founder of the National Law Firm “Ben Crump Law”, tweets his disappointment at the judge’s decision saying that it is important to have video evidence to try to get justice as we did in the George Floyd case.

After a year of Black Lives Matter protests and finally convicting Dereck Chauvin of murder, it seems that the American public will not stop until they get the same for Andrew Brown Jr. and that is how the Dereck Chauvin conviction will have an impact on how officers who commit crimes will be treated by the justice system.


History’s role in injustice

The rutted exchange taking place within the American public is about the fact that America was founded on racism. Africans came to America in 1619 to work as slaves and were treated in unimaginable ways. Black people were belittled and looked at as criminals which is still the case.


As surveys suggested, African Americans are targeted more than any group in America. They are seen as suspicious and dangerous and that is why the police feel the need to shoot and kill them. This all goes back to history and the way African Americans have always been treated in the United States.

The treatment of the police towards white and black differ. Ben Crump also tweeted on Thursday the 29th of April, the difference of police treatment towards white people compared to black people, showing the double standards in the country.

The public’s reaction

The fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. has led to six consecutive nights of protests in Elizabeth City whose population of 18,000 is half African American. The demonstrations have been peaceful and residents of the city have been demanding that the body-cam footage be released. However, on Tuesday 27th of April, a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. was imposed. North Carolina had even declared a state of emergency.


For Mikeya Duzant, a resident of Woodbridge, Virginia was not surprised when she learned about the shooting, “if anything, I felt sadness at the loss of life.” 985 people have been shot and killed by the police this past year and most of these people are indeed nonwhite. Mikeya also adds that not all shootings are racially driven, however, she does believe that in this country “police need to be vetted better before they are hired.” According to Mikeya, people need to understand that there are good and bad cops “some have good hearts, others have evil hearts.” Concerning the Black Lives Matter movement, she says that it has definitely started to make a change in how “nonwhite people are viewed and treated, however, I do not think it has made much difference in regards to racism. Many people are still racist, they just handle it differently.”

Will the Dereck Chauvin trial change anything in regards to police treatment towards black people? Even though there is still a long way to go, the FBI decided in the past week to open an investigation into the police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. Furthermore, President Joe Biden is under pressure to hold police officers accountable for their crimes but only time will tell if there will be a true change.