A jury convicted Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin yesterday. They convicted him on three charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
The top conviction, second-degree unintentional murder, carries a possible 40 years in prison.
I listened to some of the trial. It took me back to the 90s when OJ Simpson was on trial for murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. I was working the third shift at Walmart Photo and would sleep during the day. I’d wake up around 4 pm and drink coffee, play mahjong on the computer, and listen to the OJ trial on TV. It was my wake-up routine. Good times.
Yesterday sure wasn’t a good time for Derek Chauvin.
Police officer Derek Chauvin is a convicted murderer
Back when I first watched the video of Derek Chauvin with his knee on George Floyd’s neck, I immediately thought he was guilty of wrongdoing. I thought Derek Chauvin should get arrested and charged with a crime. The defense argued he didn’t quite have his knee on George Floyd’s neck. They said the video made it look that way. The defense argued George Floyd died because he consumed a lethal amount of fentanyl and meth.
My problem is that as soon as the police arrested George Floyd, they were responsible for him. They should have rendered first aid when it was obvious he was in distress. The police failed to do that. They were more concerned with keeping him from escaping, even when he was clearly unconscious. I assume the police frequently deal with citizens who have consumed dangerous drugs. They should have some skills for dealing with the medical emergency that it was. Instead of rendering aid, they seemed stuck in anti-escape mode.
What would be the harm if George Floyd escaped?
The convenience store accused George Floyd of passing a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill. If he did escape the four police officers, what risk did he pose to the community? That he would try to pass off another counterfeit twenty-dollar bill?
You would think the police suspected George Floyd of killing an entire family with a rusty machete and a pair of vice grips from the way they were restraining him.
Is Derek Chauvin a racist?
A lot has been said about this incident. People focus on the racial aspects. Derek Chauvin is white. George Floyd was black. I’m not convinced race had anything to do with it. I think it is much more likely that Derek Chauvin was just a terrible police officer. Because he was the highest-ranking police officer on the scene, he called the shots. That’s the way policing works.
I think we are a country in dire need of police reform. Something that should get looked at is how the police treat people accused of committing a non-violent crime. People like George Floyd. Instead of arresting them, write a citation. Just getting arrested can destroy your life. Arrests should be reserved for people who pose a violent threat to the community. Police officers like Derek Chauvin pose a bigger threat to the community than people like George Floyd. I put blame on the system that placed someone like Derek Chauvin on that street that fateful day. Justice will not get served until the system is changed.