April 21, 2021

Make No Mistake—We Were All on Trial.

We are officially adjourned!

I’m crying happy tears about finally getting justice for what was clearly murder—guilty on all charges.

Derek Chauvin brazenly, blatantly, and brutally murdered George Floyd for several reasons. But the most ironic of those reasons is because he has brutalized citizens for years and gotten away with it. I pray I will forget the look on his face as he willfully squeezed the life out of Floyd.

That image has not yet been forgotten, and was relived over and over again during this trial by fire.

And make no mistake, we were all on trial.

The entire American “justice system” was on trial. Racist white folks were on trial. Humanity, caring, empathy, truth, and the light were all on trial.

This has been a trial by fire for all who had a vested interest in the outcome. I have children and grandchildren. What am I supposed to tell my grandson about why he is not safe around police officers? I taught my children to never trust the police and to instead look for a Muslim man if they needed help, as there are plenty in Baltimore. But how do I justify telling my five-year-old grandchild that in 2021?

What I want—what we should all want—is for police to honor their oath to serve and protect everyone. Not just white folks, but every single soul.

While I cannot yet see past today, I am grateful that 12 people, selected by fate and charged with the weight of a racist history, actually had the courage to do the right thing at the right time for the right reason.

Because fate had everything to do with this case. You don’t think so? Here’s a bit of history.

Let’s go back to 2017. The eminently qualified Keith Ellison ran for Democratic National Convention chair. He was shut out by Obama’s pick: the underwhelming Tom Perez.

Ellison then stepped down from his seat in the House of Representatives to run for Attorney General of Minnesota, and he won. He took that position in 2019. Had he not held this position at this exact time—had fate not stepped in and kept him from getting his dream job—not only would Floyd’s murder not have been prosecuted, it would certainly not have received the complete, all-hands-on-deck prosecution we saw unfold. I have a feeling this court trial will be referred to around the country when teaching what the prosecution did correctly and what the defense did incorrectly.

The prosecution fought from a space of humanity. They showed Chauvin’s inhumanity, while exploring the humanness of the onlookers—onlookers who should be able to sue for trauma. They will never be able to un-see what they saw that day. They have been scarred for life by one, single inhumane act. But this random group of citizens bravely stood their ground, even going as far as calling the police on the police!

When prosecutor Steve Schleicher spoke on the randomness of the group of citizens who witnessed Floyd’s murder, then testified to that murder, he advised the jury that they, too, were called by fate to do the job they had been tasked to do. Although this was the state of Minnesota versus Derek Chauvin, make no mistake: white supremacy policing was also on trial.

It was impossible to miss the racial bias of the defense. The “if only George Floyd wasn’t a drug addict” or “if only he took better care of his health” or “if only he hadn’t tried to pass off a fake $20 bill.” But those jurors listened to the evidence and the bullsh*t excuses and still made the right decision. In truth, I am surprised they took as long as they did to return the guilty verdict, but I am glad they accepted their part of this fated day, stepped up to the plate, and declared that yes, George Floyd was a human who was murdered by a rogue police officer.

Those blessed 12 carried the hopes of a nation, and a world, thus creating a vehicle for true change in America.

In that moment, justice won. Now how are we going to top this?


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