I haven’t been watching the Derek Chauvin murder trial I must admit, but something on television caught my ear this morning as I was getting ready for work.
It was the way the judge presiding over the trial of the murderous cops spoke to a young female EMT& Minneapolis firefighter Genevieve Hansen, who correctly pushed back at Chauvin’s lawyer.
Could he have been any clearer in his contempt for the fact that the young EMT was giving what he knew was a powerful and damaging account of what she watched as a professional whose job it is to save lives?
So before we go any further, it is important to state that this is not the George Floyd murder trial. It is the Derek Chauvin murder trial. George Floyd was murdered in real-time as the world watched.
Dereck Chauvin killed him in real-time as the world watched.
There is nothing convoluted or complex about it. That’s what happened unless you are willing to suspend what you saw and believe another iteration of why white police officers cannot be convicted of the murder of Blacks.
Unless you want to continue to believe that the old American law that a Black man has no right a white man is obligated to respect is still the law.
The young firefighter/EMT’s had every right to be testy, but this is something that escaped the trial judge as he lectured the young woman, who clearly was emotional.
In his cross-examination Tuesday afternoon, defense attorney Eric Nelson again honed in on the crowd’s behavior, asking firefighter Genevieve Hansen if she would agree that her own behavior became louder, more frustrated, and upset.
“More desperate,” Hansen replied.
Nelson asked whether Hansen would agree that stressful situations can affect people’s memory. Hansen replied, “absolutely,” adding that’s why it’s a good thing the video exists. In a tense exchange, Nelson asked whether the bystanders were becoming angrier over time. “I don’t know if you’ve ever seen anybody be killed, but it’s upsetting,” Hansen replied.
Later, following another tense moment when Hansen complained she hadn’t been allowed to finish her answer, Judge Cahill issued a stern warning to Hansen that she should answer Nelson’s questions and refrain from being argumentative. “Do not argue with the court, do not argue with counsel,” Cahill said before adjourning court for the day.
I decide when you are finished answering”.
Totally uncalled for in tone and tenor.
Seventy-six (76) years ago, in a South Carolina courtroom, another judge sat as the trial judge in another case of blatant abuse of power by police. Army Sergeant Isaac Woodard, 26, was beaten and blinded by a police chief and other violent, racist thugs in police uniform. Woodard was traveling by bus to see his family; he was dressed in his military uniform, having just returned from a long stretch at war.
Woodard asked the white bus driver if he could stop so that he could relieve himself, the driver refused, and an argument developed. “Sit down boy”, the imbecilic driver told Seargant Woodard. The driver stopped at the next town and reported the exchange to the police, who promptly ordered Sergeant Woodard off the bus and immediately commenced beating him.
Sergeant Woodard was charged with a litany of trumped-up charges and convicted. The police chief was eventually charged with Sergeant Woodard’s blinding, but the all-white jury, in typical fashion, set him free after deliberating for only a few minutes.
See the story below.
The trial judge, in that case, Judge J. Waties Waring, disagreed with the ruling. Judge Waring would become an integral partner in the fight for social justice during the civil rights fights of the 1960s.
Judge Waring’s recognition of the wrongs in the American justice system 75 years ago should not be considered a sign that we live in better times.
The American Justice System was built as a barrier between whites who enjoy all of the privileges of a free society and Blacks who are to be kept subjugated and in their place as second-class citizens.
To ensure that the system works as planned, they created the concept of ‘policing,’ which is an offshoot of slave-catching.
They empowered them to do whatever they feel is necessary to keep Blacks in their place.
For those reasons, white juries have steadfastly refused to convict white police officers who murder Black Americans. They see the actions of those uniformed killers as doing [exactly] what they asked them to do.
It is a system that cannot be changed with persuasion; it must be vigorously tackled stridently at the ballot box and overturned, and a new system created in its stead.
.Mike Beckles is a former Police Detective, businessman, freelance writer, black achiever honoree, and creator of the blog mikebeckles.com.