Soon after the jury returned with a guilty verdict on April 20, Rev. James Thompson, 1st Vice Chair of the Greenwood County Democratic Party, stated, “It was the first time in a long time we’ve seen justice.”
While justice was indeed served, we are still a far cry from being a country in which justice can normally be expected to prevail.
Despite one of the most clear pieces of video evidence ever captured;
Despite a long line of law enforcement officials testifying against Chauvin;
Despite sparking world wide protests that numbered in the tens of millions crying out –
What does it tell us that the outcome of this trial was still in doubt?
What does it tell us that Americans held their breath waiting for the verdict to be read?
George Floyd is still dead. It shouldn’t have taken the murder of an individual in broad daylight to raise awareness of the systemic pattern of brutal inequity in how law enforcement has dealt with non-white citizens. Since then, we’re still looking for signs that the situation has improved. Where are the serious reforms across the nation that
- Root out the so-called “bad apples” that make it more difficult for the majority of good men and women serving in law enforcement?
- No longer force armed officers are into situations that are better handled by social workers and mental health professionals?
- Ban certain practices like chokeholds in which a mistake can lead to permanent injury or loss of life?
But perhaps, and here we do dare to hold some hope, that the quick and decisive guilty verdict handed to Derek Chauvin indicates a step in a very important direction: Accountability.