And we wept! Justice
Sometimes it feels as if
it is the first time justice has been done. Itís not part of
a pattern. Itís not a harbinger of things to come. Itís not
retribution for all the times that justice has not
prevailed. Itís just a little something.
But it feels so damn good.
Part of is relief also.
Part of it is relief that had a not guilty verdict been
rendered, the violence in so many places might have spiraled
out of control Ė as I write this, it still might. But Iím
What was the difference?
Why finally, in such a high-profile case, has a white
officer been found guilty of murdering a Black man?
It was the face. Derek
Chauvinís face. We hadnít seen that face before.
We have seen blurry images
of Black people being attacked and shot Ė sometimes running
away, sometimes the image obstructed by car doors, or police
bodies over them flailing away. We rarely have seen the face
close up of the victim at the time he meets his Maker.
But we have never seen the
face of the perpetrator so intimately as we saw Darek
Chauvin as he committed murder. And when we saw it, we
didnít see his panic. We didnít see his anger. We didnít see
his fear of the crowd. We didnít see disgust, or hate, or
We saw casualness.
We saw a man with his
hands in his pockets and a face that was so clearly
unconcerned by his surroundings and so unconcerned by the
life he was snuffing out. We saw a man who for nine minutes
and 29 seconds told the world, this is not a big deal. This
is not an important matter. This man whose neck I am
kneeling on is of no concern to me or to anyone else.
Derek Chauvin so casually
brought to an end the life of George Floyd, while keeping
his hands in his pockets and a look on his face that
revealed his total lack of concern for anything that
mattered in terms of the life he had taken, a life he had
sworn to protect and to serve. The life of George Floyd.
acknowledged as much in his closing argument. The defense,
he argued, had failed to make the case that George Floyd
died because his heart was too large. He died because Derek
Chauvinís heart was too small.
And we could all see it.