By Henry Okeke, Esq.
Fundamentally, I want to appreciate the Prosecutors in this trial for a diligent job.
Commencing the Prosecutors case with direct focus on proof of “actual cause” of Mr. George Floyd’s Death gave the Jury a balanced scale of Justice to find former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree and third-degree murder and manslaughter of George Floyd.
Lessons for Nigeria justice system.
- I followed the trial proceedings of George Floyd’s case live on Aljazeera tv from beginning to the end. The Prosecutors did not do any magic. The most significant tool in the Prosecutors armory was hundreds of video clips evidence of the arrest and murder of George Floyd.
- These video clips were mostly obtained from numerous Street Cameras, BodyCam of Police officers , eye witnesses coverages, etc.
- The many angles and narrations from the videos (evidence) helped in proving the degree of impact of the pattern of arrest which resulted in Cardiopulmonary arrest which the Prosecutors professionally established as the cause of death of George Floyd.
- Significantly, we can not continue to depend on our Police to perform miracles or Prosecutors to perform magic during Trials in Nigerian Courts. Our criminal justice system must depart completely from 80% dependency on ” suspicion and guess work ” from Prosecutors and the Police. This is because we cannot keep doing the same thing and expect a different outcome.
- Therefore, there is urgent need for installation of Active Street Security Cameras in our Cities in Nigeria. This is the most significant lesson from the sad case of George Floyd. We need Active Security Cameras in our Cities in Nigeria.
- We must begin to place value on human live. We have the resources to completely digitalize our criminal justice system and make evidence gathering and presentation easier for Prosecutors and Defence attorneys in order to ensure justice in all cases (especially murder cases on our streets).
- Recently in the City of Enugu State, the lifeless body of a teenage girl was found ( see attached picture) on the road. The police is on the matter and some arrest have been made, we are told. But do we have the Street Security Cameras to enable Prosecutors nail the suspects properly? For me, I consider it a huge embarrassment that we cannot secure lives in our Cities using simple modern facilities like multiple Street Cams that can record those who dropped the dead body of the young teenage girl in the center of the coal City, Enugu. We have moved on as if nothing happened, that is how much we value Right to Life in Nigeria.
- As an experienced Federal Prosecutor, I believe we are grossly lagging behind in equipping our Streets with Active Security Cameras to record Criminal Activities, Traffic Violations, Police Brutality and other related matters.
- Let me rise by submitting my likeness of the Jury System as opposed to our System that has produced the highest number of Awaiting Trial inmates in the world.
Finally, there are many cases of George Floyd in Nigeria that absence of Street Security Cameras have hidden from Trial. This should be tackled Nationwide to restore confidence in our criminal justice System.
May I arise, please.
Henry Okeke, Esq is an Enugu based Legal Practitioner and Public Affairs Analyst.
April 21, 2021.