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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/16/21

Chavin Trial Should be Slam Dunk Against Police Floyd Murder, But ...

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By Robert Weiner and Adjanni Ramos

Originally published by The Pulse Institute

The Derek Chauvin trial should be a slam dunk against the George Floyd murder, but is not, if just one juror maintains an unstated racial or police-can-do-no-wrong bias.

The trial of Chauvin for murdering Floyd had over 35 prosecution witnesses including medical examiners, doctors, and even the Minneapolis Police Chief confirming it wasn't the bystanders yelling "Don't kill him, let him breathe." It wasn't the observing firefighter asking to "test his pulse" and "give him CPR" who was ignored. It wasn't any drugs or underlying heart issue. It wasn't crowd noise. And it wasn't any police training in force that were the "direct cause" killing George Floyd--it was policeman Derek Chauvin's knee on Floyd's neck for ten minutes including three minutes after he stopped breathing.

The prosecution's videos, and expert witnesses, were persuasive, and it appeared the defense did not lay a glove on the case.

Still, one racially biased of the twelve voting jurors, or one not admitting it earlier but believing the police can do no wrong, could block a unanimous-required guilty verdict for Murder 2, Murder 3, or even Manslaughter.

The blue wall of silence by fellow police officers has been broken. Chauvin's supervisors, his police teachers, and colleagues say he exceeded any needed force and broke "protocols." Yet the case could go awry if the psychological tricks of the defense give one juror an excuse to claim doubt.

Detroit's Congressman, the late John Conyers, for decades made "police brutality" an issue. Both as Government Operations and Judiciary Committees' Chairman, and even when Republicans were in power, as the committees' minority leader, he brought Democrats and Republicans together to investigate and call for reforms--no chokeholds, no immunity from prosecution as the current House-passed "George Floyd" bill would do. Now is the time for that, but it is also time for the law as it already exists to be enforced. There would be even less debate if the Floyd bill became law, but murder is already illegal regardless.

Conyers made the issue front and center, and made a point of keeping it bipartisan. CNN reported that in July 2016, "House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and the committee's top Democrat, Michigan Rep. John Conyers, released a joint statement Wednesday indicating they would lead the effort, which is focused on 'policing strategies.'"

"It's clear that more must be done to end excessive use of force, strengthen police accountability, prevent violent attacks on law enforcement and improve the relationship between police officers and the communities they are sworn to protect and serve," Goodlatte and Conyers said.

The Floyd case looks the most promising of any in recent history. It will send a message heard around the world, almost as loudly as the viral videotape of the more than nine minutes of unresisted torture and murder.

Or it could send the message that our criminal-justice system is so broken that even the jury requirement of unanimity must be fixed and amended.

We've gone through the two weeks of the prosecution case and defense cross-examination. Now we will be having the defense case and their shenanigans to lull the jury into complacency and ignoring the prosecution's case. We will see tapes, witnesses, and ad nauseam questions on everything other than who and what killed Floyd. Let's hope the jury members don't have short memories.

It is shocking that another killing of an African American happened this week in Brooklyn Center, MN, just ten miles from the Chauvin trial - with a 26-year police officer claiming that she mistook her gun for a laser.

In 2020, there were 1021 fatal police shootings in the United States, including 241 African Americans--meaning that for the black 13.4% of the American population, they were 23.6% of the killings--almost double. Since African Americans have the greatest poverty, police are killing not only disproportionately a minority but the poorest in the country - matching the discrimination in all areas of the criminal-justice system.

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