UK history professor weighs in on prevalence of Derek Chauvin trial

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of causing the death of George Floyd during Floyd’s arrest is wrapping up.

The world is watching to see what will the jury decide.

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“Whichever way the jury decides, I think it’s gonna be a watershed moment,” Professor Nikki Brown said.

Brown teaches History and African-American and Afrianca studies at UK.

She says it’s undeniable the impact the infamously viral video of George Floyd’s death has on anyone who watches it.

“They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, I think that that video said a million and I think it’s going to be very difficult for the jury to get that image out of their mind,” she said.

She says another unique part historically to this trial, the Minneapolis police chief testified against Chauvin.

“The blue wall of silence is being broken down,” Brown said.

But keep in mind, the defense only has to convince the jury there’s reasonable doubt in the State’s claim Chauvin killed Floyd. Brown says it’s this and the precedent of few police convictions involving the death of someone that she feels has created a skepticism among the African-American community.

“Frankly, the numbers are not on the side of guilty verdicts, so that’s important,” Brown said.

Personally she’s optimistic for a guilty verdict, but still nervous about what happens if Chauvin is found not guilty on all counts.

“That type of disruption, I don’t know that the country can handle that, amid everything else that we’re going through,” Brown said.

It’s unclear how long the jury will deliberate, it could be hours, days or even weeks.

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Monica Harkins joined the ABC 36 News team in June 2019 as a Multimedia journalist and Anchor/Producer. She’s born and raised in Austin, Texas and headed “North,” as she calls it, to study broadcast journalism and business at the University of Missouri. While at Mizzou she anchored and reported for KOMU 8 News, an NBC affiliate in Columbia, Missouri all four years. During her childhood she played almost every sport, but they always called her “Hollywood” for her love of theatre. In high school, she realized her excitement for theatre and performing was only a small piece of the puzzle. It’s story telling that’s her passion. She’s especially passionate about social media and creative platforms to tell stories. Her most recent experiment is being a FAA certified drone pilot. As a proud Texan she says she’s made of country music, Southern hospitality and Sweet Tea. When she’s not at work you can find her trying new recipes, listening to crime podcasts, reading the latest romance novel or rockin’ out to live music with friends. She says she’s only a tweet or Facebook message away, so say hi and send her the latest on your community. @MonicaHarkinstv or Mharkins@wtvq.com