Jury speaks; we must listen

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

There is no longer any need to hide behind terms such as “allegedly” and “reportedly.”

Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd this past Memorial Day. A Minneapolis jury this afternoon ruled that the ex-cop murdered Floyd by using unreasonable force to subdue a man who was in handcuffs while Chauvin pressed his knee on the back of Floyd’s neck.

It took Chauvin just 9 minutes, 29 seconds to suffocate Floyd.

The jury convicted Chauvin of three counts: of second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

I won’t cheer the verdict. I won’t high-five anyone. I am not smiling because a man is headed to prison.

I want there to be further work done to transform police work. Chauvin is a white former cop who murdered a black man. We have witnessed too many of these cases over too many years. It must stop.

What might be the takeaways from this verdict? A couple of them stand out.

  • One is the testimony of the Minneapolis chief of police, Medaria Arradondo, who shattered the “blue line of silence” by declaring on the witness stand that Chauvin used unreasonable force against Floyd. Chief Arradondo wasn’t alone. Other colleagues of Chauvin said the same thing. For that I am grateful to see these officers speak against a wrong committed by one of their brethren.
  • The other is that prosecutors called this a simple case, that the jurors only needed to remember what they saw with their own eyes during video evidence presented during the three-week trial. Chauvin’s defense counsel called it a complicated case, seeking to introduce prior medical conditions and crowd reactions into their defense of their client. The jury took 10 hours to deliver justice, telling me they bought the simplicity argument and dismissed the complicating factors.

President Biden believes we have taken a step toward a “more perfect Union.” Perfection is an impossible standard to reach, as the founders knew. But, yes, we have taken another step forward … or so we all should hope.