Normally, I don’t talk about things like this but I felt compelled today. On Tuesday, Derek Chauvin, the police officer who murdered George Floyd was found guilty of all charges. I didn’t watch or listen to the trial everyday but I did get summations from NPR throughout the week. Trying to listen to that would have been too distracting for me, as well as stressful. There are so many people who weren’t stressed because they figured he would be found guilty because of all of the evidence. Those particular people we not Black people.
As a Black person, I have learned that was seems obvious is not always so, especially when it involves Black people. There have been so many videos of Black people being harmed or murdered by police but the police have usually been acquitted. It didn’t matter what the evidence was. In addition to that, not only were they murdered but their reputation was dragged through the mud because they were trying to justify his death. It’s like a never ending cycle. If you look at the courtroom footage when the verdict was read, even Chauvin was surprised by it. His eyes seemed to suggest that he was surprised and confused about what had just taken place. He too, was expecting an acquittal.
This guilty verdict is just the tip of the iceberg. Not only do police officers need to be held accountable for their actions but new laws need to be put in place to make sure it happens. For one, qualified immunity needs to go the way of the dodo bird. Every other profession is held accountable for their wrong actions, why shouldn’t the police? I have nothing against the police in general but I do feel that there is something inherently wrong with police culture and the way that Black and brown people are policed. All police officers are not bad but they can’t help but look bad when working within a bad system.
Black lives matter. Black lives should matter. If Black lives really mattered then we wouldn’t have to say it. I am a Black woman, married to a Black man whom I have a Black son with. I’m in a family with a host of Black people and many of my friends are Black. They should all matter. I’m not saying they should matter because they are Black. I’m saying they should matter because they are human beings who happen to be Black. I’m just tired. It is absolutely exhausting to have to deal with all of the crap that goes on. Even the little things start to annoy you.
As a country, we are a long way from where we should be and need to be. Hopefully, what happened on Tuesday is a step in the right direction. I say hopefully because on the same day Chauvin was found to be guilty, a 15-year-old Black girl was shot and killed by police in Columbus, Ohio. I am still hopeful, but not too hopeful. We always have to remain cautiously optimistic. Disappointment has always been the name of the game but hopefully that name will change soon.
“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” ~ Benjamin Franklin