Cronin: ‘Unquestionably’ Right Verdict Reached in Chauvin Case, But Urgency of Comprehensive Reform Remains

On Tuesday, April 20, 2021, a Minnesota jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder in the second degree, among other charges, for the wrongful death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. Video footage of the uniformed, on-duty Chauvin kneeling on the neck of handcuffed Floyd for over nine minutes, captured by a teenaged bystander, inspired a nationwide movement of demonstrations last summer in opposition to the systemic oppression of Black Americans, drawing new energy to calls for ‘meaningful change’ in police reform.

In a BU Today review of reactions from across the University, Metropolitan College Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Dr. Shea Cronin offered his perspective on what he called “unquestionably the right verdict.”

“Our society should never tolerate such cruelty in the application of the law,” Cronin said. He added:

Guilty verdicts that hold individual officers responsible are not enough. Although legal accountability is necessary, comprehensive reform is—has always been!—urgent. The aim is prevention. That starts with rethinking the very role of the police. Then we can work toward restrengthening direct community oversight that empowers communities of color in particular and internal reforms—selection, training, supervision, transparency—that infuse our officers with empathy, compassion, patience, and perspective that are demanded of the profession in our society.

Read more reactions to the Chauvin verdict in BU Today. For more BU MET perspectives on police reform, listen to the first episode of the MET Makes Conversation podcast.