Officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty on all charges. This is not a win for anyone, but a loss for many.
It is rare for an officer to be found guilty of murdering someone. Officers get a lot of leeway in how they handle a situation. We have seen way to often, in my small humble opinion, officers found not guilty for killing young and old in the name of pursuing law and order.
What was different, to me, in the killing of George Floyd, is how public it was, the number of video recordings, and the length of time it took until he died.
It is not a win for officers anywhere. A person’s life should be handled with care when one has the power to end that life. Listening should be one of the first things an officer does, especially once someone has been subdued. When an officer kills another human being, it brings all in the profession down in the eyes of the public except in extreme provable cases of there being no other choice. We’ve been able to see from video, including police video, how different law enforcement treat someone who is white and someone of color. In those videos, we are also witness to how quick officers seem to be in shooting someone of color. Shoot first, ask questions later seems to be the motto.
It is not, from my perspective, a win for people of color either. The fact there had to be a trial because an officer made the decision, an extremely poor decision, but a decision nevertheless that it was okay to kneel on a man’s neck for almost nine minutes, causing the man’s death. It was another senseless loss of another black man’s life in a long string of black men’s deaths.
It may be a win for justice in this instance. It may be a win for the family to have some sense of closure. It may be a win to know an officer has finally been held accountable for his actions.
We will have to wait a little while to see if it may be a win for society. At this time we still don’t know how law enforcement will react to the news—will they accept the legal verdict, or will they retaliate against people of color. How, and/or if, it will change police policy, police training, communication reform, and a reduction in the killing of people of color in general, and black males specifically from here on out is yet to be determined.
My personal hope is it will lead to fewer deaths of our fellow black neighbors. It is also my hope this creates a sense of accountability for officers who disregard human life, that there are more pauses and fewer killings.
Please let this be the catalyst for change and true accountability.