Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Not Getting Away With Murder

I have to confess that I was surprised when Derek Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for killing George Floyd.  I would quibble with the 'unintentional' aspect of the second-degree murder charge, because cutting off someone's carotid artery flow for NINE MINUTES is pretty much guaranteed to kill anyone.  I'm not conversant with the minutiae of the law, though, so I guess the verdict is about as good as one could hope for.

Hopefully, the precedent set in this trial (the verdict will no doubt be appealed) will make police officers think twice before they decide to appoint themselves judge, jury, and executioner in minor criminal cases, such as selling loose cigarettes or possessing a counterfeit twenty.   Our society being what it is, though, I believe that the bill to end qualified immunity that passed the House has more potential to get law enforcement officers (so called) to seek less violent means of doing their job.  Derek Chauvin's conviction is a new development, a novel case of a jury holding a killer cop accountable... allowing civil suits against violent cops will probably have a greater overall effect on policing... paying penalties that vaporize pensions will do that.

The right-wing fever swamps are afire with rage tonight, ranging from run-of-the-mill racism to more outrĂ© expressions of dismay.  There is genuine anger that a police officer was held accountable for his actions, there is genuine anger that a black man's death was considered something that a white authority figure would have to pay for.  It's going to be a strange, ugly week, even though the verdict itself was heartening.

No comments: