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Opinion: The prosecution calls a smart phone
In this image from video, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listens as the verdict is read in his trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. (Court TV via Associated Press, Pool)

It's safe to say that everyone who watched even the smallest part of the Derek Chauvin trial remembers this: The images of Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd's neck until Floyd died. Chauvin at the time was a Minneapolis police officer who had just arrested Floyd.

It was all caught on video by a bystander who pulled out a smart phone and hit the record button. Images seen on social media and traditional media outlets tens of millions of times. And seen by a jury in the courtroom. Over and over.

It's all the prosecution truly needed. It was that powerful. Chauvin was convicted on all three counts against him. The jury took less than a day to find him guilty.

A generation ago we would never have seen what happened. Sure there would be lots of testimony. But no pictures. A generation ago I think the verdict might have been far different.

A picture may be worth a thousand words. In this case a video was worth three guilty verdicts. Again, all the prosecution needed.

We all have television studios in our pockets. Powerful? Oh yeah.

Brian Olson


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