I was a bundle of nerves leading up to the Derek Chauvin verdict, the former Minneapolis police officer who shocked the world with his careless, mindless and I could give a shit execution of George Floyd.
I texted white friends before the verdict who told me not to worry. This was a slam dunk. I watched a good chunk of the trial and could not figure out a scenario where Chauvin would escape. The evidence was overwhelming.
We had the 9 minute and 39 second video of him choking out Floyd with his knee. We had his fellow officers testify against him. There were experts who testified that Floyd died of asphyxia due to back and neck compression.
This was a layup. But I kept waiting for Dikembi Mutumbo to swat everything into orbit. That didn’t happen and I felt this great sense of joy and relief when Chauvin was found guilty of second degree murder, third degree murder and man slaughter.
I was happy to see him handcuffed and led out of the court room to face decades of prison time. Of course there will be an appeal, but I am hopeful we will get the same result.
I was nervous because I’ve seen this movie before. Rodney King got the shit kicked out of him by Los Angeles County police officers. We saw the video but the police officers were all acquitted and allowed to walk.
We’ve seen black males murdered for selling loose cigarettes, pencils, minor traffic violations and jogging down a street. Pleas of “I can’t breathe” are ignored. Black males are treated like animals too often in police hands.
Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell had his signature moment during his closing rebuttal when he said George Floyd did not die because he had a heart that was too big. He died because Chauvin’s heart was too small.
Check and check mate.
Where do we go from here? I am not certain. But this is what I’d like to see from this point forward.
^ Treat a black suspect the same as a white suspect. Too often when bad police approach a black motorist in the wrong their temperature goes from 0 to 1,000 in a manner of seconds. We saw that with the Army officer in Virginia.
^ Peaceful protest. People who head the Black Lives Matter movement cannot let their foot off the gas. Although the trial was a significant and historic victory, this ball game is not over. They still need to emphasize that black people are human beings. Our lives matter.
I know what some of you are thinking. All Lives Matter. That is true. But we already know that white lives matter. We already know that blue lives matter. What this country has struggled with for centuries is Black lives matter also.
^ Passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act by the senate that would ban choke holds, abolish no knock warrants and make it easier to pursue claims of police misconduct.
^ Upgrade educational opportunities in the black community. Why should you get a better education in Bloomfield and Sterling Heights than in Detroit and Pontiac?
^ Increase job opportunities in the inner city. If you’ve got money in your pocket you are less likely to commit a crime.Find Terry Foster Podcast here: