HOUSTON - As the Derek Chauvin trial now rests in the hands of the jury, local law students, who’ve been keeping close tabs on the case, are reacting to how it's affecting them academically and personally.
For Le'Otis Boswell Johnson and Elayne Robinson, the Derek Chauvin trial has been one of the most important case studies to watch in their careers as aspiring attorneys.
As Thurgood Marshall School of Law students, they’re learning from a campus that sits just steps away from Cuney Homes, where George Floyd grew up.
For them, this case hits close to home.
"In law school in general, they teach us to kind of take our feelings out of it, take the emotions out of it and focus on the law and the facts. With this case, it’s kind of impossible," Johnson said.
"I think it’s kind of impossible not to like walk across the street and feel something. There’s a mural on Almeda, there’s one on Scott, everywhere you turn but for me, it gives me a bit of a sense of camaraderie. I know that when I walk out into my community that there are still people to advocate for, people to fight for and after this is all said and done, after the lights go off, these people will still need advocates. Once the verdict is rendered, it doesn’t change all the work that we have to do in the community," Robinson said.
"Yes we can look out and we can see these connections to it, but me walking as a Black man, I have that connection on a regular basis. I think about whether I’m going to get stopped by the police and how that's going to affect me. It’s not our environment itself that makes it more real, it’s my reality that makes it real," Johnson said.
Although the case has felt deeply personal to both Johnson and Robinson, from an objective legal standpoint, both have their money on a guilty verdict.
"I’m going to hope for the best, but at the same time, I guess that's what it means to be Black in America that you also prepare for the worst, because there have been times where I felt like this was clearly an open and shut case and then the jury comes back with a not guilty verdict," Robinson said.