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KPBS Midday Edition

Derek Chauvin Trial Retraumatizing For Many

Defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, with his client former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on the first day of argument. Chauvin is on trial for murder in the death in police custody of George Floyd in May 2020.
Eric Nelson AP
Defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, with his client former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on the first day of argument. Chauvin is on trial for murder in the death in police custody of George Floyd in May 2020.
Professor Starla Lewis teaches classes on transcending racism and the psychological history of racism and sexism. Lewis joined Midday Edition on Friday to discuss the impact of this trial on people's mental and emotional well being.

It was shown over and over again in the Derek Chauvin trial this week — former Minnesota police officer Chauvin’s knee on George Floyd’s neck while he was on the ground handcuffed and pleading for his life, even for several minutes after Floyd's body went limp.

Witness testimony was emotional with a deep sense of trauma. That trauma is being felt by many people who have seen the video and are watching the trial.

RELATED: Senior Police Officer Says Chauvin’s Neck Restraint Of Floyd Was ‘Uncalled For’

Starla Lewis is a professor of Black Studies at San Diego Mesa College. She teaches classes on transcending racism and the psychological history of racism and sexism. Lewis joined Midday Edition on Friday to discuss the impact of this trial on people's mental and emotional well being.

She said that she's discussed the trial with her students and that it has been traumatizing for them in part because they grew up during the Obama presidency and have been taught to think the U.S. has made great strides against racism.

"If you don't acknowledge what is, and prepare your children to deal with what is, then they're defenseless and so it makes it more traumatic," Lewis said.