Former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin, the killer-cop who tortured and murdered George Floyd, 46, on May 25, 2020—for 9 minutes and 29 seconds— was taken in custody (above) after he was found guilty of all charges by a Minneapolis jury today.
He now faces 75 years in prison at sentencing.
Justice must now also be served on former officers: Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane for aiding-and-abetting Derek Chauvin in this gruesome cold-blooded murder.
This verdict is an important win in the continuing fight for justice against racial policing and the uncontained virus of killings and murders of Black people in America by cops. However, this one conviction is just that one conviction.
Much more must be done in terms of activism, and legislation, to arrest the ongoing pandemic of police violence in America. Congress must be forced to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021, regardless of the opposition of Republicans, who give us empty lip-service about the “rule of law,” while remaining silent on the scourge of racial abuse perpetrated by police.
The relatively quick decision of today’s guilty verdict against Chauvin makes it clear the jury believed their eyes, and not the lies being pushed by Chauvin’s defense. Attorney Eric Nelson advanced several absurd narratives that were clearly rejected by this unanimous jury decision.
During the trial, Nelson pushed several of the old racist stereotypes that are often successfully used to justify unjust police killings of Black men.
We saw the criminalizing and revictimizing of George Floyd by Chauvin’s defense. We heard about how he was a big Black man. We heard about Floyd’s struggles with drugs. The message was: this is a big scary Black criminal whose death under Chauvin’s knee (while he was handcuffed behind his back) should be blamed on him, not on the criminal cop who extinguished his life, in broad daylight, before the eyes of concerned citizens.
Nelson also insinuated these citizens were an angry mob that contributed to Floyd’s death by somehow distracting these police officers. Of course, the video shows no such thing. And Chauvin was so unconcerned about this supposedly angry mob he proceeded to continue his torment of Floyd—calmly shoving his hand in his pocket and posing over his soon-to-be dead prey.
Thankfully, sanity prevailed in this case.
However, while we should celebrate this just verdict, we must realize this Chauvin case is far from over. Appeals are surely coming.
Attorney Eric Nelson made that clear Monday when he renewed his objection to the dubious decision by Judge Peter Cahill not to sequester the jury. Why didn’t the judge sequester the jury in such a high-profile case as this, which is usually the standard procedure?
After Daunte Wright was killed by former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter, Nelson made one of his only rational arguments in this case regarding sequestering the jury. Nelson told Cahill that given the outrage over Wright’s killing—only a few miles from where Chauvin was being tried—that the judge should immediately sequester the trial.
Cahill rejected this, then made another head scratching decision, on Thursday, letting the jury go home, while telling them he would sequester them during deliberations.
Then Monday, when Nelson raised the objection on the lack of sequestration, and invoked (without naming Congresswoman Maxine Waters) Judge Cahill ascended his high horse saying “I’ll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned.”
No Judge Cahill, you did by not sequestering this jury in the beginning. If you had, you wouldn’t have to complain about the comments of the esteemed Congresswoman from California—because the jury wouldn’t have been privy to her comments, or that of anyone else in media.
If this verdict gets overturned on appeal it will likely be because of Judge Peter Cahill’s strange sequestration ruling.
However, we must use today’s guilty verdict as a moment to recommit ourselves to changing the fundamentally racist foundation of institutional American policing that has, and still continues, to end the lives of countless Black Americans on a regular basis.
We still have a long way to go before we get equal justice in that regard.
But for today we can say that an American jury decided to hold former white police officer Derek Chauvin accountable for murdering George Floyd, a Black man.