Derek Chauvin trial retraumatizing for many

Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Derek Chauvin trial retraumatizing for many
It's a breath of relief for many who say policing and the criminal justice system in America were also on trial.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- People all over the world watched the Derek Chauvin trial and anxiously awaited a verdict.

The former Minneapolis police officer has been found guilty on all charges.

RELATED: Derek Chauvin verdict: Jury finds ex-cop guilty of murder, manslaughter in George Floyd's death

It's a breath of relief for many who say policing and the criminal justice system in America were also on trial.

The trial and outcome have also brought back a flood of emotions.

"Although we are miles and miles apart, our lives are very intricately intertwined... Lots of people feel very deeply impacted by what's going on. Not just from the primary trauma of knowing what has happened, and the secondary trauma of seeing these things, these images, these videos in the media," said Dr. Reshale Thomas, a licensed clinical psychologist in Fresno.

Millions of people have watched the video showing the last minutes of George Floyd's life under the knee of the former Minneapolis police officer.

"When you watch the life drain out of someone, that impacts people in a very particular way, no matter what color you are. But in light of our cultural collective history as Americans, that particularly has a very strong impact on the Black American community," Dr. Thomas said.

For many Black Americans, the video itself, the trial, and the recent fatal shootings of Black and Latino people in Minnesota and Chicago by police are resurfacing decades of compounding racial trauma.

"It can cause people to avoid things, avoid persons, places, things, and it's that avoidance piece that prolongs the drama and the stress and makes it difficult to cope.... flashbacks, nightmares, even irritability is a big one."

Now that the trial is over, the emotions and trauma may still linger. Dr. Thomas says the main thing is making sure you're not isolated and encourages others to reach out to friends and family, and seek professional help if you need it.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).