The conviction of Derek Chauvin for all three counts he faced for killing George Floyd by kneeling his neck for over nine minutes in Minneapolis last May was a relief, but a sad relief.
It’s relief that a murder at the hands of someone sworn to protect and serve has been found to be just that – murder.
Chauvin’s trial over the past few weeks has been brutal to read, watch or hear. Beyond the horror of the video shot by 18-year-old Darnella Frazier that day, hearing the words of those who witnessed Floyd’s death was gruesome and wrenching.
No one ends up a better person for watching someone take the life of another human being. That much was clear watching and listening to the witnesses relive the experience.
It is a relief that this instance of the murder of a Black person at the hands of law enforcement resulted in justice. But what about the others? What about Tuesday’s police shooting of a 15-year-old Black girl in Columbus, Ohio. She called the police after being assaulted in her home and ran out of the house with a knife in her hand only to be met by four bullets to the chest.
What about Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old Latino boy in Chicago who was chased by police down an alley and ordered to drop his gun and raise his hands. He did so and was shot and killed.
While one trial is underway, the deaths pile up faster than they can be brought to court and to justice. Twenty-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, was unarmed and was shot. Wright, who is Black, was either pulled over for having an air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror or for an expired tag.
U.S. Army Second Lieutenant Caron Nazario who is Black and Latino, was pulled over by two Windsor, Virginia, police officers because the temporary plate for his new SUV was not fully visible. He was pepper-sprayed and thrown on the ground and handcuffed while in uniform.
The jury’s findings of guilt on all three charges against Chauvin are encouraging as are the fact that officers involved with Wright and Nazario have been fired.
We’ve got a ways to go.