Justice was done.
And that, perhaps, is the single most shocking thing about the George Floyd verdict.
We all knew Derek Chauvin killed him, because we all saw it with our own horrified eyes for the nine minutes and 29 seconds that Chauvin had his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck.
But America’s justice system has a long, grim, shameful record of failing to hold criminal police officers to proper account when they kill black people, even when we’ve all witnessed what they did.
So, when the unanimous jury verdicts came in of ‘GUILTY’, ‘GUILTY’, and ‘GUILTY’ I felt the same wave of relief that ricocheted around the world.
As GOP Senator Tim Scott put it: ‘This is a monumental day in many ways. I think our justice system is getting more just.’
Yes, I agree with him.
But let’s be under no illusion this verdict single-handedly solves anything.
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Derek Chauvin is pictured in court on Tuesday as the jury found him guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd
The cold, hard truth is that we would never have known what Derek Chauvin did to George Floyd if it hadn’t been for a heroic 17-year-old black girl named Darnella Frazier who stopped to record it all on her cell phone and then uploaded it to Facebook.
If she hadn’t done that, Chauvin would have got away with murder and the world would have been none the wiser as to what really happened.
The official Minneapolis Police report of May 25, 2020 into the incident was headlined: ‘Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction.’
It went on to state that officers were called to the scene to investigate a ‘forgery in progress’ and the suspect ‘appeared to be under the influence’.
It continued: ‘Two officers arrived and located the suspect, a male believed to be in his 40s, in his car. He was ordered to step from his car. After he got out, he physically resisted officers. Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later. At no time were weapons of any type used by anyone involved in this incident.’
The police narrative was clear: an intoxicated, or drugged criminal resisted officers, who never used a gun, and he had some medical issue that later caused his death.
That narrative was a lie.
Or rather, it was a woefully disingenuous misrepresentation of the facts because it neglected to mention that Chauvin kneed Mr Floyd’s neck for nearly ten minutes, continuing even when his victim cried ‘I can’t breathe’ 20 times, even when he had clearly lost consciousness, and despite the desperate pleas to stop from several appalled bystanders.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., talks on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday ahead of the verdict
If Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump had spoken out like this before a big nationally watched trial was finished, the Democrats would have screamed their outrage. Biden is pictured above on Tuesday
It was Chauvin’s knee that caused the ‘medical distress’ and it was Chauvin’s knee that killed George Floyd.
But if Darnella Frazier hadn’t filmed it all, we wouldn’t have known this, there would have been no trial, and Mr Floyd’s death would have been just another crime statistic.
That young woman’s courage went much further than filming the murder.
She also ignored threats, intimidation and abuse to give evidence in the court case as a key witness.
And what powerful testimony she gave.
Darnella, now 18, said she has spent many nights ‘apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life.’
But what more could she have possibly done?
If she had tried to physically pull Chauvin off George Floyd, what would have happened to her? I dread to think.
No, what Darnella Frazier did ensured that justice was done.
Her motivation was simple.
She wept in court as she explained: ‘When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad, I look at my brothers, I look at my cousins, my uncles, because they’re all Black. I have a Black father. I have a Black brother. I have Black friends. I look at how that could have been one of them.’
Yes, it could.
The worst thing about Derek Chauvin’s murder of George Floyd was his total disregard for what he was doing.
He didn’t care that Mr Floyd couldn’t breathe, or shouted out for his mother, or that witnesses begged him to stop.
Chauvin, 45, was accused of killing Floyd by pinning his knee on the 46-year-old black man’s neck for 9 minutes, 29 seconds, as he lay face-down in handcuffs after being detained for using an alleged counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes
He didn’t care about any of it.
Instead, Chauvin just carried on pressing his knee down, sneeringly oblivious to the life being snuffed out under it.
The most powerful line of prosecutor Jerry Blackwell’s closing argument came when he said to the jury: ‘You were told that Mr Floyd died because his heart was too big. The truth of the matter is that the reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr Chauvin’s heart was too small’.
Nothing more perfectly illustrates what happened than that.
And that’s why I’m not just relieved that Derek Chauvin was convicted – I’m delighted.
This callous monster betrayed everything the police are supposed to represent and deserves to rot in prison for a very long time.
But there are many other issues surrounding this case that should disturb everyone who genuinely cares about justice.
Not least the extremely unedifying and dangerous politicisation of it.
I thought it was totally wrong for Democrat-dominated Minneapolis City Council to agree to pay $27 million to settle a civil lawsuit from George Floyd’s family while jury selection for Chauvin’s trial was still going on.
The family’s lawyer Benjamin Crump said the settlement was a way ‘to help shape what justice looks like’ rather than wait for a result from a legal system that many distrust.
‘The one thing we know as Black people,’ he said, ‘is there is no guarantee that a police officer will be convicted for killing a Black person unjustly in our country. That’s what history has taught us.’
I understand his sentiment, but for a city council to admit culpability and pay vast sums of money to a victim’s family BEFORE a massively important criminal trial isn’t an attempt to secure fair justice, it’s an attempt to unbalance the scales of justice.
Even worse was Democratic congresswoman Maxine Waters’ outrageous clarion call on Saturday night for violent protests should Chauvin be found not guilty.
‘We’ve got to get justice in this country,’ said Waters, who is black, ‘and we cannot allow these killings to continue. We’ve got to stay on the street, and we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business. I hope we’re going to get a verdict that will say guilty, guilty, guilty. And if we don’t, we cannot go away.’
Waters said all this before final arguments had even been heard in court, prompting the presiding Judge, Peter Cahill, to brand her comments ‘abhorrent’, say it was ‘disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch’ for elected officials to comment on the outcome of the case, and tell Chauvin’s defence counsel: ‘I’ll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned.’
It’s hard to imagine a more stupid, reckless, reprehensible or incendiary thing for a sitting member of Congress to do, and who knows what horrific damage Waters may have done to justice if this case now goes to appeal?
I don’t think for a moment that Chauvin will be acquitted altogether if he appeals, but if he were to subsequently get off any of the charges, and serve a lesser sentence as a result, than that will be on Maxine Waters.
And what was President Biden doing speaking out before the verdicts came back?
On Tuesday, he said he was ‘praying the verdict is the right verdict’ and made it clear what he thought that should be, adding: ‘It’s overwhelming, in my view. I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered.’
He shouldn’t have been saying it at all.
Chauvin was led out of the court in handcuffs after the verdict came down on Tuesday afternoon. He had reportedly scribbled his lawyer’s phone number on the palm of his hand (right) before he was escorted out
If Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump had spoken out like this before a big nationally watched trial was finished, the Democrats would have screamed their outrage.
And what’s the difference, frankly, between Maxine Waters inciting protestors to get ‘more confrontational’, or President Biden effectively saying a guilty verdict was the only acceptable one and giving protestors moral justification if they didn’t get the result they wanted – and what they both accused Trump of doing before the Capitol riots on January 6?
These senior Democrats weren’t just playing to the gallery with these reckless remarks, they were playing with justice.
No juror should ever hear elected officials talk like this before they deliver their verdict, and let’s not be so naïve that we don’t think some of them may have done so even while sequestered.
Nor should any black person in America have to endure House Speaker Nancy Pelosi preposterously saying after the verdict: ‘Thank you, George Floyd, for sacrificing your life for justice.’
He did no such thing.
His life was taken from him by a murderous police officer in an incident that horrified the world and sparked extraordinarily powerful Black Lives Matter global protests.
It also prompted many to ‘take the knee’ as a protest against racial injustice.
But that’s not enough to effect real change.
The answer to George Floyd’s killing is not to ‘defund the police’ as radical liberals keep suggesting.
The answer, I believe, is for America’s police forces to all be given MORE funding, enough to ensure that every other heartless scumbag cop like Derek Chauvin gets rooted out, and that those who replace them understand what justice actually means.
Justice should mean the right for every American, of any colour, to experience a fair and equitable legal system.
Justice should also mean the right to a fair trial for every American – even for horrible human beings like Derek Chauvin.
It’s great that he’s been convicted.
But how many other vile lying police officer snakes like him have got away with it?
Darnella Frazier, the true hero of this horror story, asked this question last month on her social media: ‘What else got covered up if it was no evidence to see what really happened?’
The Minneapolis police tried to hide how George Floyd really died, because they knew it would confirm what most black people in America feel – that the scales of justice are unfairly tilted against them.
The irony is that by masking the truth, only for it to then emerge on social media for the public to watch it for themselves, these same police officers exposed just how far they were prepared to go to thwart justice, especially against black people who statistically suffer far worse from this kind of unequal treatment than white people.
Last night, thanks to a brave young woman doing the right thing and a jury that did its job, justice fought back.
Most police officers are good people, but Derek Chauvin was the worst cop in America.
Let’s hope his conviction is a catalyst for real lasting reform of a shockingly unfair and racially biased US legal system… and let’s also hope that dumb Democrat political pandering doesn’t come back to haunt us all in the appeal court.