Tag Archives: George Floyd

Chauvin to spend appropriate time behind bars

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Twenty-two and a half years.

That is what a Hennepin County, Minn., judge today gave a convicted murderer and a former Minneapolis cop for his role in one of the more notorious deaths in anyone’s memory.

Judge Peter Cahill handed the sentence to Derek Chauvin, the rogue cop who killed George Floyd in May 2020 by suffocating him with his knee pressed on the back of Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. The case spurred outrage around the world as it should.

Was this the right sentence? I have trouble quibbling with it. It’s about double the minimum sentence that Cahill could have meted out, but less than what prosecutors had sought; it also was about half as long as the maximum sentence available.

So, the judge split the difference.

I watched it unfold today in my North Texas living room. I was struck by the curious testimony of Chauvin’s mother who made a strange argument that the judge also would be sentencing her to a prison term. Hmmm. My thought in the moment was: Hey, this isn’t about you. It’s about your son and the hideous crime he committed.

So, this particular chapter is now closed. Chauvin faces federal charges as well. His three former colleagues who witnessed the crime also are facing a trial in state court.

Derek Chauvin got what he deserved. As for George Floyd’s family, my continues to break for them and for their horrific loss. I hope they can find a measure of solace in knowing that the man who murdered their loved one will be locked up for a long time.

Reform, not defund, police

(Photo by Pablo Monsalve / VIEWpress via Getty Images)

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The nation took some time today to remember the murder of a man at the hands of a rogue police officer.

George Floyd’s death one year ago on a Minneapolis street sparked a revolution across the land, with protesters calling for efforts to “defund the police.”

I do not accept that former cop Derek Chauvin’s hideous conduct that day in which he suffocated Floyd by pressing his knee on the back of the man’s neck for more than nine minutes should require communities to take money from police departments. Chauvin faces a lengthy prison term based on the jury’s guilty verdict on charges of murder and manslaughter.

Justice was delivered that day in the courtroom.

Does it mean we should take money away from police departments? No, it means to me that we need to reform police agencies. I continue to stand with the men and women who serve and protect us. However, I also see plenty of room for reforming the way they do their jobs.

Indeed, we have seen too damn many instances of cops responding with far too much aggression when the suspects are racial minorities. George Floyd’s death caused a justifiable uproar.

However, let us not get carried away with this “defund the police” movement. I want PDs reformed if there is cause within these departments that cry out for reform.

And, yes, I will continue to grieve over George Floyd’s death.

Feds now involved in Floyd murder

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A Hennepin County, Minn., jury had the good sense and common decency to endorse what we all saw on that ghastly video, which was the sight of Derek Chauvin suffocating George Floyd while arresting him for passing counterfeit money.

They convicted him of second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter. Chauvin faces a lengthy prison term.

4 ex-cops indicted on US civil rights charges in Floyd death (msn.com)

Now, though, comes this bit of news: Chauvin and his three former Minneapolis police colleagues have been indicted by a federal grand jury of violating Floyd’s civil rights when they arrested him and then killed him.

The ordeal ain’t over for Chauvin or for Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. The three other officers also are awaiting trial in state court for their role in Floyd’s death.

You know the story. Chauvin is a white man; Floyd was an African-American. Floyd’s death drew international attention and helped spawn greater interest in the Black Lives Matter movement.

This case isn’t not about to fade into history any time soon.

Nor, frankly, should it.

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.

No federal rules on policing

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

As a “good government progressive,” I feel the need to weigh in on an issue that is beginning to get some traction, particularly in light of the conviction of Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd.

It’s the issue of police reform and whether Congress should enact laws that dictate how local police departments should do their business.

I don’t consider that a level of “good government” by the feds. Congress would be well-advised to keep its hands off what is fundamentally a local-control issue.

Floyd’s death while being arrested in Minneapolis for passing some fake currency was a shocking reminder of how cops can go rogue and how the consequences of their actions can cause such tragic results. A jury convicted Chauvin of second- and third-degree murder and of second-degree manslaughter. He is likely to spend many years in prison.

Police departments answer to local governing authorities. City councils or senior city administrators have the final say over how the cops should do their job. They hire police chiefs, who then administer policing rules and regulations for their officers to follow. The burden must remain with them — not Congress — to determine what is correct and proper. If the voters in their cities, counties and states don’t like the way these matters are being handled, they can take measures to rectify the situation.

And yet some zealots are pushing Congress to enact federal laws that prohibit certain policies. No, Congress should stay away from that particular discussion and let local communities have their say.

I, too, am horrified at what has been happening in communities across the land. Too many police officers are acting badly when arresting racial minorities. The result, such as what happened to George Floyd, have occurred with shocking regularity.

It must rest with those communities to repair the damage being done and to find permanent repairs. Congress need not get involved in what belongs to others to resolve.

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.