Regarding the Derek Chauvin Murder Trial

The George Floyd Mural in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Like with many people in the United States, and across the world, my heart was beating at a mile a minute as the judge in the Derek Chauvin Murder Trial read the verdict on all three counts:

Guilty.

Guilty.

Guilty.

After I heard the verdict, I was personally relieved. I know many others who feel relieved with the verdict as well, for it meant that George Floyd’s life mattered enough that the police officer who killed him went to prison.

However, in my own humble opinion (humble because I do not have to worry about police on a daily basis like my friends of color do), what we saw today was not justice for George Floyd. Justice would’ve been if George Floyd didn’t get killed at the hands of Derek Chauvin.

Instead, what we got was accountability. Namely, accountability for a chokehold that lasted nearly 10 minutes. Derek Chauvin, the person who killed George Floyd, was held accountable for that chokehold.

That accountability often does not happen. Look at Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Michael Brown, Sean Bell, and many others. All of these individuals were killed by police officers, and yet the police officers who killed them didn’t go to jail. In all these cases, we got neither justice nor accountability.

The ultimate goal should be justice, period. Justice means that Blacks are treated the same by law enforcement as others–something that is far from being the case. Justice means that Blacks aren’t so disproportionately subject to everything from marijuana use to being shot at in spite of being unarmed.[1] Justice means that my friends of color and my brother’s friends of color are given the same treatment by law enforcement that I receive.[2] But justice goes beyond policing–it means the elimination of racial inequality in everything from our schools to our economic systems. Reaching this goal of justice will not be easy, and it may take a long time to achieve this goal (especially as long as too many people keep electing politicians who do everything in their power to keep us from marching towards justice), but that should be our goal.

However, we can hope that the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin Murder Trial will at least be a first step towards accountability. Namely, accountability in terms of how Blacks are policed. With accountability, we can get a step closer to making sure that Black lives truly matter.

Please note that I wrote this piece on the fly, so I apologize in advance for any mistakes I made here.


[1] https://blindinjusticeblog.com/2020/06/01/on-the-policing-of-people-of-color-and-the-death-of-george-floyd/

[2] Ibid.

24 Replies to “Regarding the Derek Chauvin Murder Trial”

  1. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    This afternoon, former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts of murdering George Floyd. I planned to write a post later about it, but meanwhile I read Brendan’s piece, and … well, I couldn’t have said it any better, so I am re-blogging his. Thank you, Brendan.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wonderful post! Thank you very much for sharing! I am a writer from Australia, and understand that I’ll never be able to grasp the situation of police enforcement in America, but I am constantly trying to learn and listen to those who have a greater understanding than I. Have you noticed any differences in community perspectives after the decision? Are people supportive of the decision? I have also written an article on the matter on my blog sharing my thoughts. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that aswell if you have time 🙂 All the best!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the compliment!

      To answer your questions, I live in a part of United States that is considered pretty liberal, which means (in the sense of police issues) that most would be sympathetic to the George Floyds and Eric Garners of the world to begin with. All that being said, in New York City (where I live) the reaction was a combination of joy and relief over the verdict, so that I think says a lot.

      My city is also the home of two of the more infamous police brutality cases in recent years–the cases of Sean Bell (in the neighborhood neighboring mine) and Eric Garner (not as close to the part of New York City where I live, but still in New York City). As such, in many ways a fair number of us were attuned to the reality of police brutality before the racial justice movements of the past year or two.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Brendan, thank you very much for your response! I’ve definitely sensed a common theme of joy and relief which you touched upon. I hope those powerful emotions can lead to action and change by law-makers across America. The judgement could be a defining moment, but only if something comes after it. I guess time will tell, but I’m certainly hopeful!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I watched and cried with relief when the 3 calls of guilty were announced. It is a step on a long road for all people who have felt this type of injustice, maybe the enormity of this crime and the public outcry will go a long way to correcting societies issues. Accountability is a good start.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sometimes it seems that a large number of human beings, however precious their lives, can be considered disposable to a nation. And when the young children of those people take notice of this, they’re vulnerable to begin perceiving themselves as worthless. It’s atrociously unjust and desperately needs to stop. Although their devaluation as human beings is basically based on their race, it still reminds me of the devaluation, albeit perhaps subconsciously, of the daily civilian lives lost (a.k.a. “casualties”) in protractedly devastating civil war zones and sieges. At some point, they can end up receiving just a few column inches in the First World’s daily news.

    At a very young and therefore impressionable age, I was emphatically told by my mother (who’s of Eastern European heritage) about the exceptionally kind and caring nature of our Black family doctor. She never had anything disdainful to say about people of color; in fact she loves to watch/listen to the Middle Eastern and Indian subcontinental dancers and musicians on the multicultural channels. This had a positive effect upon me. Had she (for whatever reason) told me the opposite about the doctor, however, I could have aged while blindly linking his color with an unjustly cynical view of him and, eventually, all Black people.

    Some people — who may now be in an armed authority capacity — were raised with a distrust or blind dislike of other racial groups.

    The first step towards changing our irrationally biased thinking can be our awareness of it and its origin. But until then, I believe, such biased sentiments should either be kept to oneself or counselled, especially when considering the mentality is easily inflamed by anger.

    Liked by 2 people

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