These days the Derek Chauvin trial is dominating the airwaves along with several other high-profile issues connected with race relations in the United States. This trial recounts ad nauseam the incidents surrounding the murder of George Floyd, a Black man who lost his life due to a counterfeit $20 bill. It came out in the trial that the clerk at Cup Foods, the store in which the drama started, was not even sure that Floyd knew that the bill was counterfeit. Yet he lost his life at the hands of an overzealous policeman, Derek Chauvin.
The trial, still in progress at press time, has been a real spectacle. The prosecution trotted out evidence that makes it as evident as the nose on your face that Floyd was the victim of murder by police, something that is very common and has been going on for a long time in America.
What makes this case so different from others that have been described is the fact that there is a plethora of video footage and photos that allow us an unprecedented view of what actually happened on May 25, 2020.
The defense team has the job of encouraging witnesses and others to not believe what they actually saw with their “lying eyes,” i.e., witnesses should not believe what thousands of observers saw.
Even the medical experts were in agreement that Floyd died as a result of police actions, and the medical examiner called it a homicide.
The defense’s main position is that Floyd died as a result of a drug overdose due to the fact that he had opioids in his system. This does not stand up under scrutiny, however, and it will be interesting to see how this trial plays out.
The Derek Chauvin trial represents a watershed moment in the experience of America.
It has long been known, especially among African Americans, that the police disproportionately target Black and brown people for little or no reason. Many white people, on the other hand, apparently have been somewhat clueless. They have heard the allegations of maltreatment of Blacks by the police, but it is not until now that the rumors are able to be seen as patently true.
The dubious benefit of our surveillance society has made it convenient to see life as it happens. This, of course, can be seen to be a benefit and a curse, but more on this at another time.
The outcome of the Chauvin trial could very well determine the future of Black/white relations in this country. The fact that George Floyd’s death is a clear case of murder can’t be disputed by reasonable people, yet it is. Our court system has the job of making a judgment that is reasonable without causing the majority of American citizens to totally lose faith in the system. This is clearly a teachable moment for America.
Chauvin faces three charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. If he is found to be not guilty of any of these, it will mark a turning point in America. The court system will have given the Black community, and by extension, all Americans, a giant finger.
But based on comments by many African American observers, most are not expecting justice, in fact many people are saying that they do not expect a substantive judgment. Hopefully, rioting will not follow if Chauvin is found not guilty. But there is a feeling among others that because a broader swath of the American population is watching what’s happening, this time we might get a different outcome.
Whatever the case, the covers have been pulled off of what has been an obvious, but unseen and unacknowledged, truth—that African Americans have been mistreated in America by law enforcement. This has resulted in a disproportionate number of them being incarcerated or killed.
This reason alone makes this an opportune time to bring up another point that is high in the minds of African Americans, the idea of REPARATIONS.
The Derek Chauvin situation is just the tip of the iceberg, because there are many other officers like him who are more than willing to disrespect and mistreat African Americans. The names of those who have lost their lives in this way generate a very lengthy list.
The community deserves redress; the community needs redress; the community demands redress…reparations now! A Luta Continua.