Tag Archives: George Floyd

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.

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.