I assume by now that you have heard about the verdict of former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd approximately 10,000 times, and that you have had more than your fill of opinions about it. Even the stories labeled “news” are mostly about 80% opinion.
So I’m going to try something unique. Instead of pontificating, I’m going to tell you the facts, including some you might not have heard, and pass along commentary from people who actually know what they’re talking about. That way, when you inevitably run into someone spouting opinions, you can calmly reply with facts and reason. It won’t do any good, but we have to start somewhere.
First, the basic facts: the jury returned fairly quickly with a verdict of guilty on all three counts: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter (I told you I’m not a legal expert so I won’t try to explain how you can be guilty of both intentional and unintentional murder for the same crime.) A guilty verdict was hardly unexpected, given the emotional power of that video of Floyd saying he couldn't breathe, but not necessarily on all counts.
Victoria Taft at PJ Media has a good round-up of other facts about the trial, such as the racial makeup of the jury, and reactions to the verdict, as well as some reasons why there is certain to be an appeal.
Among the many potential grounds for appeal are the denial of a change of venue from Minneapolis (a mistake that became more obvious with each passing day), President Biden pronouncing Chauvin guilty while the trial was ongoing, and the threats of street violence by Rep. Maxine Waters and the leftist mob if the jury didn't convict.
The judge said the jurors had been instructed to disregard media reports, but would any reasonable person not suspect that their verdict might have been influenced by fear if they knew there were threats of violence against a witness, police, the jurors, their families, their homes and businesses and their entire home town?
President Biden reacted to the verdict by presenting a dark vision of America (this is what the media said every time Trump spoke, so I feel that it’s fair to say that – also, in this case, it’s accurate.) He described the nation that elected him as a place of systemic racism where all black and brown people live in fear that the police will kill them or their children as they’re just walking home from the grocery, driving their cars or sleeping in their homes.
Bryan Preston notes that that description of all America more accurately sounds like big cities that have been run for decades by Democrats. Remember, Derek Chauvin was a member of the police force in Minneapolis, one of the most liberal cities in the country with not a single Republican on the city council.
While most of the questions about the rightness or wrongness of the verdict center on whether the jury was intimidated or unduly influenced, legal experts such as Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz spoke to Fox News about some costly mistakes the defense made. Among them: not being tough enough in cross-examining the prosecution’s forensic witnesses…making an erroneous statement about the law in the summation that forced the judge to pause the trial and instruct the jury to disregard (not something that impresses a jury)… and deciding not to put Chauvin on the stand. That prevented the prosecution from badgering him into making a costly slip, but it also kept the jury from hearing him defend himself in his own words, which might have humanized him after months of media demonization.
For some definitely biased but entertainingly expressed opinions, Stephen Kruiser looks at the reactions of leftists who got the verdict they demanded but are still angry and unsatisfied and complaining, because of course they are.
(By the way, to lift your spirits, scroll down in that article to the video of the heroic dog caught on a surveillance camera saving his little dog buddy who fell into a swimming pool and couldn’t get out. It might not restore your faith in humanity, but it will reinforce your faith in dogs.)
A reminder: there are three other officers still facing charges in George Floyd’s death. Here’s what’s happening with those cases.
While I hope this verdict will help calm some of the violence and overheated rhetoric for a while at least, and buy some time until the appeals start to begin a rational dialogue to address legitimate issues of police reform, I suspect it will be seen by the radical left as a win that only encourages more demands for mob rule.
Finally, while I understand the pain of George Floyd’s family, and why they held the press conference, I would offer them a suggestion in good faith: If you want to make the case to Americans that we must never tolerate demonizing an ethnic group in ways that lead to the deaths of innocents, or allowing false charges based on race to destroy people’s lives, or letting people who do those things face no accountability, then please reconsider making that argument with Al Sharpton standing next to you.