The trial of the 21st Century has arrived, and like the OJ Simpson Case in the 20th Century, it has gripped the soul of the nation. In the now infamous incident, Officer Derek Chauvin, a 19 year veteran with the Minneapolis Police Department, arrested George Floyd who had initially been resisting the attempts of less experienced officer to handcuff him. After handcuffing him and placing him in a prone position, Officer Chauvin placed both knees near Mr. Floyd’s neck for over 9 minutes, with Mr. Floyd pleading for his life. Mr. Floyd ultimately died in this position.
The arrest and death of Mr. Floyd was captured by police video cameras, but it was the videos of bystanders who witnessed his death which went viral, and led to the mass protests early in the pandemic starting in May of 2020. The protests started in Minnesota and quickly spread to over 2,000 cities across the nation. The majority of protests were peaceful, with notable exceptions which devolved into riots, looting, and violence.
Now Officer Chauvin is fighting for his life in Minneapolis in the murder case against him. Chauvin is being charged with 3 counts:
- Second degree murder, which is essentially felony murder, and
- Third degree murder, also known as depraved heart murder, and
- Second-degree manslaughter, which according to Minnesota law applies when one “creates an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes changes of causing death or great bodily harm to another
Unfortunately, like too many issues in the country, this trial is being reported through a polarized lens. Mainstream media has thus far covered the trial reported as if the result is a foregone conclusion for guilty. Whereas listening to conservative media, one would get the impression that “The Prosecution Against Derek Chauvin Is Collapsing,” which is actually a unwittingly comical title to conservative talk-show host Ben Shapiro’s podcast episodes during the prosecution’s case-in-chief.
Chauvin convicted of all 3 counts!
My (hopefully more rounded) views now follow. Chauvin was convicted of all 3 counts today and, though many are rejoicing, I consider today to be a sad day. First, Chauvin was overcharged on the Second Degree Murder charge being of the high publicity associated with his case and the social activism. In my opinion, the public outcry influenced the jurys’ decision- deliberating for 10 short hours on a 3 week trial. Secondly, something horrible happened: George Floyd died and Chauvin ruined his life. There’s no reason to celebrate at all- only bad things happened- many are acting like their sports team won or they’re happy that Chauvin now has to suffer: that’s just schadenfreude. Perhaps, the silver lining is that the news of his conviction will help provide calm and stability to the country, the way our ancestors used human sacrifice used to satisfy the bloodlust of the masses.
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