A CLOSER LOOK: mom, whose special-needs son killed by Arkansas trooper, closely watched Chauvin’s trial

A Closer Look

Silhouette of a male criminal suspect with hands up during night pursuit in front of the police car headlights. Getty Images.

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — “I believe he should be convicted of murder,” said Mary Hamley about Derek Chauvin’s trial, “there was no reason for nine minutes.”

Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, is the man who has been found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter by a jury in the death of George Floyd, on Tuesday, April 20, 2021.

In this image from the video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, stands after 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, Minn. Standing next to him are attorneys Eric Nelson, left and Amy Voss. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

Entered into evidence by the prosecution was a video that showed Floyd handcuffed and face-down on the road with Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes, 29 seconds.

Hamley believes the two men, Chauvin and Floyd, had a history of not liking each other. “I believe his death [Floyd] was personal,” she said.

Hamley said she could only pray for justice for Floyd. At 62, the Springdale resident remembered her son who was killed by an Arkansas State Police Trooper. “My son was one of the most loving, beautiful human beings I knew in my life. It would have broken his heart to see today’s trial of George Floyd,” said Hamley.


On Tuesday night, March 7, 2006, Mary Hamley reported her special-needs son Joseph Erin Hamley, 21, who was born with cerebral palsy, missing to local authorities. The previous evening he went for a walk, as usual, but didn’t return.

Mary Hamley (L), son Bud (C), and family friend (R). 12/2017. Photo used with permission.

Around the same time, about 850 miles north, in Michigan, an 18-year-old man had escaped from a correctional facility and authorities were on the “lookout” for him.

Hamley later found out that her son was shot to death 12 hours earlier by an Arkansas State Police (ASP) Trooper who thought Erin was the escapee.

Erin was seen alone near Highway 412 outside of Tontitown and several deputies were on the scene.

Erin was lying on the ground, on his back, when an ASP trooper shot him. My son said to the troopers, “my name is Erin,” said Hamley, “but they didn’t want to believe him. They wanted to make it into something.”

Law enforcement believed Erin was the escapee from Michigan, according to reports.

Hamley said her son was not even the same size compared to the criminal they were looking for.

In June 2007, ASP Trooper Larry Norman pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and served about two months in jail of a 90-day sentence. The family sued the state and was paid a $1 million settlement.

I think the most improvement made by law enforcement as a result of Erin’s death is that if an officer turns off their video camera at the scene of an incident they are fired. She said when her son was killed that law enforcement at the scene turned off their camera devices.

Another change Hamley would like is education for special needs children.

“Today, I would teach a handicapped child that police are their friend because they’re supposed to be,” said Hamley.

As for Derek Chauvin’s trial, “I’m glad there is a trial because there were times in our history there were no trials. I have lived it,” she said.

As for losing a child, “it’s not something you ever get over. I have three grandchildren who will never know their uncle.”

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