Today (April, 20, 2021), a jury in Minneapolis found Derek Chauvin – a former police officer – guilty of killing George Floyd. Chauvin was an active duty officer at the time of the killing. It is certainly to be celebrated that the jury reached the verdict that it did. The verdict is to be celebrated because we have seen time and time again that either no charges are brought against those who kill Black and Brown people, or when charges are brought, the accused will not be convicted.
It is difficult for be to be in such a celebratory mood, however, because I don’t know if this is actually a sign of change. I didn’t watch the trial religiously as some others did, but there were many police officers and police-affiliated witnesses who testified against Derek Chauvin. I ask therefore, why is he being “sacrificed”? Is there an actual crack in the blue wall? Was it the nine-plus minutes of Chaivin with his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck that made a difference? The jury was asked to “believe their eyes,” which I guess they did. Makes me wonder why the Rodney King jury did not believe their eyes? That was a different time, for sure, when there was not as much rage among so many people about social justice issues.
I do hope that this verdict signals a greater change in our society and that the Derek Chauvin verdict is not a fluke. We will watch to see what happens with the Kimberly Ann Potter (who shot and killed Daunte Wright) case, and unfortunately, the cases that are still to come. I could go on about the need for police reform and the need for general respect for the lives of Black and Brown people. I certainly hope I will see the day when such respect is demonstrated on a routine basis. For now, I guess I will accept the fact that there is some sense of justice for the Floyd family and hope that we won’t be here again.