Tag Archives: Derek Chauvin

What will AG find?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

My curiosity is killing me.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has announced a Justice Department investigation into the Minneapolis, Minn., police practices. Garland wants to get to the bottom of policies that resulted in George Floyd’s death a year ago when former cop Derek Chauvin suffocated him while arresting Floyd on a charge of passing counterfeit currency.

I am left to wonder: Why?

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testified during Chauvin’s trial that what he did was not in keeping with the PD’s policy. He said that Chauvin violated the police department’s policy and standard when he pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.

So what is the AG intending to determine?

I happen to support Merrick Garland’s position as the nation’s top law enforcement official. I supported President Biden’s decision to nominate him to be the next AG.

I just am wondering out loud whether this investigation is as much for show as it is for actually finding policies that routinely result in the ghastly event that the whole world witnessed on that Minneapolis street.

Is there systemic racism within the PD? Is the department training its officers adequately?

I hope the attorney general’s probe produces legitimate findings.

Silence is deafening

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald Trump’s silence in the aftermath of the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict has been deafening.

Yet I almost can hear what the former president might have told those sitting around him when he got the news along with the rest of the nation. I sense that he believes Chauvin got hosed by the jurors who convicted him of murdering George Floyd on that Minneapolis street a year ago.

You might wonder: Why is this guy (me) even discussing this? Because it was on Donald Trump’s watch for the past four years that this type of crime — with the cops exercising brute force against African-Americans — became so prevalent.

Therefore, it stands to reason to believe that Donald Trump would have something to say publicly about a criminal trial that captured the public’s attention in a way not seen since, oh, the one involving O.J. Simpson in 1995.

But he hasn’t said anything about the verdict.

Barack Obama has spoken out. So has President Biden, as has George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. They all have said essentially the same thing, that the verdict was correct.

Donald Trump’s term was punctuated by a sharp increase in hate crimes against various ethnic and racial groups. Big surprise, eh? Hardly. The man began his campaign for president in 2015 with a full frontal attack on Mexican immigrants who he said were “rapists, murderers” and drug dealers seeking to enter the United States illegally for the expressed purpose of committing crimes against Americans. It went straight into the crapper from that point.

He failed to address the issue of crimes against minorities. He looked the other way when hate against them erupted into violent crime. The result was the emboldening of Americans who knew that Trump had their back.

Trump is now gone. He likely never will return to the White House that he defiled during his time in office. Trump’s silence on the Derek Chauvin trial and on the death of an American under the knee of a rogue cop speaks loudly enough for me to understand the gravity of the mistake this nation made by electing this guy in the first place.

Chauvin verdict hardens ‘fault lines’

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The cheers for the jury’s verdict convicting Derek Chauvin of murdering George Floyd has come from one side of the political chasm.

The other side has been virtually silent.

This is according to a report published in Politico, which reports that Democrats at all levels of government have endorsed the verdict. Meanwhile, Republicans at all levels have stayed virtually silent.

Chauvin trial political fallout: Groundbreaking verdict, same fault lines – POLITICO

My goodness. The divide just seems to deepen and widen even as a troubled nation watched a jury deliver long-needed justice to a rogue cop who killed a man by employing unreasonable and cruel force. The ex-cop is white; his victim was black. That is the story of this case.

Why are GOP pols sitting on their hands? Why are they quiet? Why can’t they bring themselves to condemn what the whole world witnessed and cheer a judicial system that has delivered justice?

Instead, Republican politicians have criticized President Biden for declaring — as the jury was deliberating — that he wished for justice, which GOP pols interpreted as meaning a “guilty” verdict. Did I mention the jury was sequestered during its deliberation and did not hear what the president said in real time?

Derek Chauvin has received what he deserved, guilty verdicts on all three murder and manslaughter charges. It took the jury 10 hours to make it determination.

Some folks had hoped there might be a sign of unity with this verdict. Hah! It has hardened both sides. Shameful.

Next up? The other 3 cops

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Now that Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murdering George Floyd on that Minneapolis street a year ago and might spend the rest of his life in prison, attention now turns to his three fellow former cops who are awaiting trial in that hideous incident.

Of all the questions that need answering, the one I want answered is this: Why in the world did you stand by silently while Chauvin continued to press his knee against George Floyd’s neck, suffocating a man on whom you had placed handcuffs?

Any one or all of those former police officers could have intervened when they realized Floyd no longer was offering resistance, let alone even breathing!

They didn’t. They allowed Chauvin to snuff the life out of a man they were arresting for seeking to pass some counterfeit currency. Good Lord!

The first act of this drama is drawing to a close as the world now awaits the sentence that will come for Derek Chauvin. The rest of this tragedy, though, has yet to play out.

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.

Justice is delivered

(Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Excuse me for a brief moment as I offer a somber reaction to a jury verdict delivered today in a Minneapolis courtroom.

Former cop Derek Chauvin is guilty of three counts of murder and manslaughter brought against him in the death of George Floyd, the man he killed when he pressed his knee against the back of the victim for more than minutes on Memorial Day, 2020.

Is this a reason to rejoice? No. It isn’t. It is a time for us take stock of what must continue, which is that we need to stay vigilant against the kind of abuse that Chauvin delivered to George Floyd and to work tirelessly to prevent future cases such as this from ever recurring.

We surely can be glad in the belief — at least the one I hold — that our communities likely won’t erupt in violence. Chauvin has now been convicted of second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. When all is done he likely will spend time in the slammer. He belongs there. From my cheap seat in the peanut gallery, that’s what I saw on that hideous video. It also is what a jury of Chauvin’s peers has delivered in that courtroom.

I won’t be cheering. I will take up the cudgel on this blog for a more just society that seeks to prevent the kind of manhandling of a citizen by rogue police.

Justice came at the end of this criminal trial. The full measure of justice remains out there … somewhere. Let the larger society find it.

The world is watching

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

How in the name of fair and impartial justice would you like to be one of the 12 men and women who at this moment are deliberating whether a former police officer should go to prison for killing a man he arrested for passing counterfeit currency?

Hmm. Count me out!

Derek Chauvin is on trial for killing George Floyd in Minneapolis this past year. The interest in this trial goes far beyond our national borders. Much of the rest of the world is waiting now with bated breath while the jurors ponder whether to convict Chauvin of second-degree murder, third-degree murder or second-degree manslaughter … or all of the above. Or — and this one is hard to swallow — whether to acquit Chauvin of what the whole world witnessed on video, which was Chauvin snuffing the life out of Floyd by placing his knee on back of Floyd’s neck for more than minutes, while Floyd was lying on the pavement handcuffed.

The drama of this moment is almost too much to bear.

However, I am going to join other human beings around the world and just wait for what the jurors have determined.

Keeping faith in system

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Try as I might to understand the anger simmering inside the black community in this nation, I cannot possibly grasp it in its entirety.

I am a white man. I haven’t experienced the type of brutality that many of my black friends have endured. With that said, I am left to stipulate that I am inclined to place a good measure of trust in the judicial system that seeks to render a decision that has a lot of folks on tenterhooks.

Former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin is on trial on a charge that he murdered George Floyd. Chauvin is white; Floyd was black. Floyd was suffocated on a Minneapolis street by Chauvin because he tried to pass a counterfeit $20 bill.

From what I have witnessed of this trial from the peanut gallery, I believe Chauvin is guilty of the crimes for which he is standing trial. I have the luxury, though, if being able to go about my day without being hassled because of my skin color.

The jury that is going to deliver a verdict has heard every bit of evidence. It has heard prosecutors and defense counsel take their best shot. The criminal justice system places a huge burden on prosecutors who have to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that the defendant did what he is charged with doing. Defense counsel has to persuade one of the 12 men and women that there is reasonable doubt, producing a hung jury.

I am sitting at a safe distance from the simmering anger in the Twin Cities community. Thus, I won’t presume to know how I would react to an unfavorable verdict if I had been hassled by the cops. Nor can I in good conscience instruct others on how they should react if they don’t get a verdict that fits their expectation.

I am left only to hope sanity will prevail. I also can hope that those who want the jury to deliver their version of justice will understand that our  judicial system places these decisions in the hands of just plain folks … just like the rest of us.

Waters needs to shut her mouth!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Just as U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters correctly admonished her House colleague Jim Jordan to “shut your mouth,” she ought to heed her own advice.

Waters, a California Democrat, decided to weigh in on a possible consequence of the trial of a former Minneapolis cop, Derek Chauvin, who is on trial for murder in the death of George Floyd in that infamous arrest that cost Floyd his life.

Waters said some highly inflammatory remarks about the possible outcome of the trial. According to NBC News: “We’ve got to stay on the street and we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational,” Waters told reporters when asked what would happen if the Chauvin trial, which is wrapping up this week, ends in acquittal. “We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”

Chauvin trial judge says Maxine Waters’ ‘confrontational’ protest remarks could fuel appeal (msn.com)

Get more confrontational? What in the world is Rep. Waters advocating? Violence? Good fu**ing grief.

Her remarks drew a sharp rebuke from the judge presiding over the Chauvin trial, suggesting her comments could end up as fodder for an appeal by Chauvin’s defense counsel if the ex-cop gets convicted of murder or manslaughter.

Maxine Waters long has been seen as a lightning rod for those on the left and the right. She tends to get in people’s faces, saying whatever she damn well feels like saying.

Look, I endorsed her comments about Jordan, who hectored and badgered Dr. Anthony Fauci about the pandemic. Jordan needed to be slapped down.

However, Rep. Waters stepped way beyond her sphere of influence in calling for “more confrontation” if a criminal defendant gets acquitted. The jury system well could produce an unsatisfactory verdict in this case. Let’s allow the jurors to do their civic duty to the best of their ability.

As for Rep. Waters, she needs to shut her mouth.

How does a police officer do this?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

With much of the nation riveted on the trial of a former cop who suffocated a man by pressing his knee on the back of his neck, I am utterly astonished at the conduct of another police officer who decided to roust a uniformed Army lieutenant.

Derek Chauvin, a white former Minneapolis police officer, is on trial for killing George Floyd, a black man arrested for passing a fake piece of currency.

Now we have former white cop Joe Gutierrez pepper-spraying 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario after stopping him because Nazario, who also is black, didn’t have a license plate displayed on his brand new vehicle.

Perhaps you have seen the video of Gutierrez ordering Nazario to get out of his car. Nazario was trying to talk the officer down. Gutierrez responds by spraying Nazario in the face while he was sitting behind the steering wheel of his car! The more recent incident occurred in Windsor, Va.; the city manager has fired Gutierrez.

Yes, the incident involving Lt. Nazario occurred in December, prior to the start of the Chauvin trial. Still, intense public scrutiny of George Floyd’s death garnered tremendous attention. It called attention to police conduct throughout the nation.

Yet we now have video showing an officer overreacting in the extreme on a traffic stop that never, ever should have escalated to the level that it did.

It is fair to ask: Did the ex-officer choose to drop the hammer on the young Army officer only because he is a black man?

Joe Gutierrez: Windsor, Virginia police officer who pepper-sprayed an Army officer during a traffic stop, has been fired (msn.com)

This national conversation must continue. There must be some resolution to what is becoming what looks to be an all-too-frequent occurrence.

I have long stated my belief and support of police officers. I recognize the life-threatening danger to which they expose themselves every day they report for work. I have known many fine officers over my years covering their activities while working in the media; I live next door to a fine young man who patrols our highways for the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Still, what we now have seen unfold in Windsor, Va., simply boggles my noggin.