ROANOKE, Va. – The trial and outcome of the murder of George Floyd by former police officer Derek Chauvin could impact future cases in Virginia and across the country.
Stewart Harris is a constitutional law expert and college professor in Tennessee. He said it parties in future cases may look upon this one for guidance.
“I think it probably will make prosecutors more inclined to take such cases seriously and prosecute them aggressively,” Harris said.
The trial revolved heavily around whether Chauvin acted in a reasonable or unreasonable manner. While police reports tell one story, Harris said the eyewitness video was critical evidence.
“An ounce of facts is worth a pound of law, and that’s really what happened here, that some very brave and persistent people pulled out their cameras,” Harris said.
While the case began and ended in Minneapolis, many considered it to be a measuring stick for justice in the United States as a whole.
Attorney General Mark Herring praised prosecutors for “standing up for what is right.”
“We need to acknowledge that for far too long we’ve had really two criminal justice systems in this country, one for white Americans and one for Black Americans and people of color and that has to change,” Herring said.
Herring added that it’s not enough to just say Black lives matter, but rather that they need to prove it. He said continuing to push hard on patterns and practices of unconstitutional policing, and challenging established culture is a start.
“The jury’s verdicts have set a precedent for accountability in our criminal justice system, but we know if we’re going to have a true, just and fair criminal justice system, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us,” Herring said.