Seeing Our Own Beliefs
Terry H. Schwadron
April 21, 2021
It took an instant for the Derek Chauvin verdict to become political, of course.
As politicians, Civil Rights leaders, the White House and pundits piled on, it was clear that there was a split over the meaning of the verdict rather than the decision itself. Either the verdict was an omen about institutional racism that runs through our nation or it was about one bad apple; either the decision was a sign of hope for a better recognition or a sacrifice to head off an expected reaction of street rage.
Republicans in Washington could finally act in a single day to try to condemn Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., for urging more confrontation should the verdict have gone the other way, only to be rebuffed, even after three months of being unable to speak against their own members for promoting an attack on the U.S. Capitol itself. And they could criticize Joe Biden for speaking his mind on the case, out of earshot of the sequestered jury, before the verdict had been announced. Of course, then they hit him and VP Kamala Harris again for remarks following the rare conviction of a police officer because the White House could see deep-seated racism in policing where the critics do not.
Among supporters of the verdict — a mantle that Biden took on — — any instant celebrations carried a deeper conviction for a wider reckoning for policing in America, a need to shout out that this verdict meant that Black Lives Should Matter, through passage of the so-called George Floyd policing bill, commemorating victim in this trial, stuck in the Senate. Those calling this a bad apple case, naturally, see no need for a nationwide response to a singular case or even a string of them.
On Newsmax and Fox, some observers including commentator Tucker Carlson said openly that the jury had voted out of fear of a widespread reaction rather than the mountain of evidence, adding that support for the verdict was “an attack on civilization.”
Again, we need to ask ourselves if this trial, so stark because of all the witness videotape of a horrific police murder, was a watershed moment for rethinking. As you do, consider that there was another fatal police shooting yesterday in Columbus, Ohio, 20 minutes before the verdict, of a 15-year-old Black girl, who was seen on a police body cam lunging at another girl with a knife. Blue Lives Continue.