How a 9-min video reignited a decades-old movement in Australia

George Floyd
George Floyd

source: SBS News
published: 22 April 2021

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of murdering George Floyd. Many are heralding the ruling as a historic step towards racial justice. But in Australia, one family are still screaming out for accountability.

A man is pinned down by law enforcement officers as he desperately tells them – 12 times – that he can’t breathe. He would die in custody and footage of his death would later spark furious protests and calls for justice [in Australia].

The setting of his death is not a Minneapolis street in May 2020, though the circumstances bear striking resemblance to the murder of black American man George Floyd, who was killed when former police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into his neck for more than nine minutes.

David Dungay
David Dungay

It is in Sydney’s Long Bay jail in 2015 and the man is David Dungay Jr, a 26-year-old Dunghutti man from Kempsey who was held to the ground after allegedly refusing to stop eating biscuits. Like Mr Dungay, Mr Floyd repeatedly told the officers he couldn’t breathe, the horrific ordeal videoed on a mobile phone and sent around the world. On Tuesday, a 12-person jury found Mr Chauvin guilty on all counts in the murder of Mr Floyd. The most serious charge, second-degree murder, carries a prison sentence of up to 40 years.

US President Joe Biden said the ruling had the potential to be a “giant step forward towards justice in America” while vowing to do more to end systemic racism which he described as a “stain on our nation’s soul”.

Vice-president Kamala Harris promised the family that Mr Floyd’s death would not be in vain.

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