LONDON – Closely followed in Britain, especially among the nation’s black population. And many are celebrating now that the former police offer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of killing George Floyd.
Amy Jordon is a London high school teacher who says she feels relieved by the verdict. She was one of the tens of thousands of people who took part in the British Black Lives Matter protests last summer.
Jordon hopes this verdict will make the world see black people as equal.
“The children that I teach, it shows them that their lives do matter and the police can’t just do whatever they want to them, with no consequences. I think it really will change the world and it will change how we see the police and what they can and can’t get away with it,” she said.
Several British television news stations were offering live coverage of the verdict, while newspapers are headlining the verdict on their websites or front pages.
The killing of George Floyd not only highlighted the issue of racism in the United States, but also in Britain where images of the toppling of a slave trader statue in the British city of Bristol went viral during a Black Lives Matter protest last June.
Sofia Akel is a race equity specialist at the London Metropolitan University. She said that while the murder of George Floyd happened in the United States, it turned the lens of racial inequality on Britain.
“In the UK, since 1990, over 100 black people have died during or following police contact. But zero police officers have been prosecuted for murder or manslaughter. And that’s despite several rulings of unlawful killing. And these are stats and real life stories of people that are known very well to the black communities in the UK,” she said.
The British government set up a Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities after the Black Lives Matter protests. The Commission published its controversial report last month, concluding there is no institutional racism problem in the country.
The report was rebuffed this week by a United Nations working group of human right experts, saying the document attempts to “normalize white supremacy.”
Community activist Darrel Blake organizes black history tours in London. He said the Chauvin verdict alone doesn’t change the racism and discrimination black people experience.
“I feel like true justice will come when black people are not seen as villains from the maternity ward, all the way down to the deathbed. That’s when we will get true justice,” he said.
Britain just commemorated the 40th anniversary of the 1981 Brixton uprisings – long known to some as the Brixton riots – when people, most of them black, protested the racial inequality they faced at the time.
Today, British black women are four times more likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth than their non-black counterparts, according to recent studies in Britain. Black people are fifty percent more likely to be imprisoned than non-blacks, and the pandemic has left young black people in Britain unemployed in disproportionate numbers.