Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death got all they could give him. Guilty on three counts. Among them…second-degree murder.
If you watched any of the trial, you knew there was little doubt of his guilt. The prosecution did an excellent job. The defense did the best it could with what it had.
That cell phone video though was indefensible. Seeing Chauvin kneel on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes was damning.
Still though, you had to wonder? Would the jury see it that way? They were in that courtroom in Minneapolis. They heard all the evidence. Was there anything there to get an acquittal? In the end, nothing to defend.
When the verdict was read and Chauvin was carried away in handcuffs, you wondered, now what?
Not just what would happen in the hours after the verdict, but in the days and weeks and years moving forward.
President Biden addressed the country. “No one should be above the law. And today’s verdict sends that message. But it is not enough. We can’t stop here.”
Fox News is reporting that President Biden is calling on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
It would ban choke holds, eliminate no-knock warrants and end qualified immunity for police officers.
One of my favorite columnists Eugene Robinson wrote in the Washington Post, “Derek Chauvin’s conviction shouldn’t feel like a victory. But it does.”
Robinson writes that after Floyd’s murder and the protests that followed, something changed.
“I had a sense that something fundamental might be changing—that a generalized reckoning with systemic racism might actually begin.”
Let’s hope so. It’s gone on for too long. I think Vice President Kamala Harris said it best.
“Here’s the truth about racial injustice. It is not just a Black America or a people of color problem. It is a problem for every American. It is keeping us from fulfilling the promise of liberty and justice for all. And it is holding our nation back from realizing our full potential. We are all a part of George Floyd’s legacy.”
Change. It’s never easy. Ending systemic racism will not be. The verdict in the George Floyd case was a big step. Let’s see where we go from here.