NewsAmerica in Crisis

As Chauvin trial begins, video of George Floyd's death elicits painful memories

impacts of watching George Floyd video
Posted at 12:32 PM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 12:32:28-04

As the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is set to begin, the body camera video of George Floyd's death has started circulating again across national and international media, a video that elicits painful memories from many Americans.

David Ikard, a professor of African American studies at Vanderbilt University, has watched as this country has done a great deal of soul searching over the last year.

"We shouldn’t be surprised that this cancer of our racial un-reckoning has metastasized, because it was totally predictable," Ikard said.

For Ikard, and many other Black Americans, the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin carries with it an immense amount of pain. Perhaps the most painful thing about the upcoming trial, though, is the video depicting George Floyd's death, the moments where George Floyd is knelt on for nearly nine minutes.

A jury will ultimately decide if what happened in the video was criminal.

"I have not seen the whole video in its entirety; I literally cannot watch it. The moment George Floyd called for his mom, I shut it down," Ikard said about the video that ignited a year of civil unrest.

Ikard says it's important to understand just how deeply that video has impacted us as a nation and to understand how it makes many people feel even 10 months later, especially as the trial is set to begin.

"That is a trauma,” he expressed. “I honestly don’t know how people can continue to watch it."