Derek Chauvin, and his involvement in the 2020 police killing of Geroge Floyd, is currently on trial for Floyd’s death. And as witnesses take the stand to address the events that led up to that day, many others are bracing themselves for the outcome.
One person who knows this feeling all too well is Valerie Castile, the mother of Philando Castile. Eerily similar to Floyd’s killing, Castile was also unarmed and killed by police. Her son’s 2016 death resulted from a traffic stop and was recorded on video. Still, the Minnesota police officer accused of firing the shot that killed Castile was acquitted the following year.
Floyd’s death was also recorded on video, showing his last breath as he suffered from a knee pressed hard against his neck. Chauvin, the accused officer, wasn’t at all prepared for the video to go viral last summer, and the outrage that demanded he face consequences.
Though Floyd allegedly told the officer he was unable to breathe, Chauvin held his knee on his neck for over eight minutes. Originally, officers were only called because Floyd was accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill.
While Chauvin faces a list of charges, including second and third-degree murder, Philando’s mother wants the public to know what she thinks about his innocence, as well as how the case relates to her son’s death.
“Seeing [George Floyd] took me back to that day of my son taking his last breath saying, I wasn’t reaching,” she told the Atlanta Black Star. “He made a dying declaration, but did that matter?”
Castile also spoke on the systemic race issue that’s present in police killings such as these, saying, “This is something that has been embedded for hundreds of years, so you’re not going to see a significant change. But that’s why I go hard for my son and these kids and my people.”
Speaking on Chauvin’s trial, Castile thinks the case is clear as day, continuing, “You got to be a damn fool if you think he is not guilty. You had 8 minutes to change your mind but instead, you stuck your hands in your pockets and you repositioned your body to put more pressure on that young man’s neck until you squeezed the life out of him.”
Chauvin’s trial continues with its fifth day of witness testimony.