Updated: May 18
On April 20th we witnessed yet another watershed moment in our nation's history. On this day, we witnessed America's Criminal Justice System stand trial and for the first time in what seems to be a long time, it sided with the victimized instead of the victimizer. It took just 10 hours, from the end of closing arguments and the jury beginning their deliberations in the #DerekChauvinTrial, for them to deliver guilty convictions on all 3 counts. This was truly a watershed moment in American History. Black America; it seems was able to take its collective breath, after years of not being able to breathe because of the knee of oppression, hate and racism firmly lodged on our necks. I hasten to think what the family of George Floyd feels like today, after 11months of watching the disturbing video of their beloved relative's life be taken right before their very eyes. His life was taken by the very same people that took a solemn oath to serve and protect this very same life. Former Officer Derek Chauvin (pictured above), showed George Floyd absolutely no humanity whatsoever, as he firmly pressed his knee into the back of this Black man's neck. There was no since of humanity or human decency that was shown to George Floyd, by the very same person who's life Office Chauvin took an oath to protect. Chauvin pictured here, looks eerily similar to a slave master photo taken centuries earlier on the plantations of the South. Chauvin looking into the camera almost grimacing as he posed with one hand in his pocket and his knee on another man's neck, as if to say to the millions viewing this image, "there's absolutely nothing you can do about it." "I'm protected by this badge, and gun that I carry, and the police officers that are here, will defend my actions, because of the shield that we carry." Chauvin showed absolutely no remorse in the photograph taken almost a year ago, and hasn't shown any remorse since The arrogance, the blatant disregard for your fellow man is utterly appalling and disappointing especially coming from someone that was supposed to protect and the serve the life he so callously has taken.
Darnella Fraizer is the 17yr old hero who; as someone put it, when she hit the record button on her smartphone, it became America's eyes that witnessed the inhumane and horrific killing of another human being. You can even take the color out of it, this was a a blatant demonstration of "man's inhumanity to man." Even though, it seems that Black & Brown people are more familiar with circumstances and tragedies like these than our White counterparts, the fact that this police officer could not see that this was another human life that he was taking, the fact the he didn't seem to show any concern whatsoever for this man's well-being, was disturbing on so many levels. The fact, the even after the EMS came to provide emergency medical aid to George Floyd's lifeless body, they had to practically verbally and even physically insist that this officer move so that they can attend to this dying victim. Unfortunately for George his life had already been taken, and there was nothing the EMS Personnel could do, but to pick his lifeless body up, put him on a stretcher and transport him to a local hospital where they could officially pronounce him dead. What a tragedy!
This is the scene that has played out in many of our lives not just for the past 11months, but it seems for the past 100 years. Police brutality and police killings of Black & Brown people seems to be something we have been dealing with for decades now. And, we as a community, as Dr. Cornel West once put it, are "in a constant state of mourning." In fact, just 10 miles away from the courthouse where the Derek Chauvin trial was taking place, and a few days before the verdict was handed down the life of another Black man was taken by a police office. Former Officer Kim Potter took the life of Daunte Wright, while trying to prevent him from fleeing during a traffic stop. She claims, however, the shooting was accidental, because she the thought she was reaching for her taser, when she actually pulled her gun. And, in Ohio a young 16yr old Black girl's life was taken by another police trying to be break up a domestic dispute. And, yet another similar situation has played in North Carolina, claiming the life of yet another Black man at the hands of the police. The question becomes where is this going to happen next, and when is it going to end?
This has seriously got to stop! It appears to be open season on Black and Brown people. These are the scenes and circumstances that motivated massive protests in Minneapolis, Minnesota, around the country and literally around the world. I saw footage of protests regarding the tragic death of George Floyd in places like London England, Paris, France & Berlin, Germany. Hearing George Floyd's name evoked in places like these literally sent chills down my spine as I watched hundreds of thousands of people from various ethnicities and nationalities chanting, "I Can't Breathe" and "Black Lives Matter." I was so moved by this display of compassion and humanity from these protests around the world that I took the audio and turned into a commercial that I played during my Thinking Out Loud Radio Show Podcast each and every week, and have done so ever since his death. Listening to the audio. I said, recently during an Instagram LIVE that it is one thing to hear Black people utter phrases like "Black Lives Matter" and "I Can't Breathe" during protests and marches in the streets of our cities and states around the country. In fact, it is indeed an expectation from the oppressed community that has been effected and impacted by this vicious problem of police brutality to be the loudest voices decrying its shameful consequences. It has unfortunately become our rallying cry, our badge of honor, so to speak. It is the swan song of a community under constant conflict and chaos from a country that we are supposed to call home.
But, it is another thing entirely different when you hear White, Yellow, & Brown people echoing those same sentiments around the country and yes, even around the world. When you hear White people in Paris, France and Los Angeles, California saying "I Can't Breathe" and "Black Lives Matter" or Asians Americans in the streets of Chicago evoking those same phrases, it hits a little differently. They carry with them a completely different meaning, when other people are now sharing in your struggle. This, to me, is what matters the most, out of all of the things that have happened within the past 11months, seeing so many people respond to our community's cry's for help has been nothing less than extraordinary. In a real way, they are rejecting the defiant officer Chauvin's incredulous belief that no one would even care if this Black man dies right here in the middle of street. That life would immediately return to normal once our police cars have left the scene, and George Floyd's lifeless body is carted off in a stretcher and taken to the morgue. It seems with each protest, and with each march the world was saying to Derek Chauvin and rogue officers like him, that George Life Matters, because Our Lives Matter, and essentially what happens to one directly effects us all indirectly. Each person marching and protesting were essentially seeing themselves under the racist knee of Derek Chauvin, and this is why they marched and protested with such vigor and resolve around the world.
Empathy, is and was the one word that is at the heart of this entire case, and I believe at the heart of this entire movement. The ability to see yourself in another man's shoes, or as the song writer once said, "I complained that I had no shoes, until I saw a man who had no feet to use." Black and brown people are not asking for special treatment, they are simple asking to be treated with empathy as fellow human beings and equally as fellow citizens of this country. That is the absolute bare minimum of theirs and our request, and this should not be too much to ask. But, it seems that over and over again we see the disparity of this request played out in front of us in real time each and everyday. White people who are pulled over by the police are treated much differently than their Black counterparts. Dylan Roof; the White young man who brutally shot and killed 9 parishioners at a local church in North Carolina was treated to Burger King before being taken into custody, while Eric Garner was choked to death by a gang of cops for selling lose cigarettes on the streets of New York. Kyle Rittenhouse brandishing an AR-15 Rifle in front of police during a Black Lives Matter protest after shooting and killing two protestors, while Botham Shem Jean was shot and killed in his own apartment by a police officer who mistakenly entered his apartment thinking it that it was hers. And, the most blatant and extreme evidence of America's racist tendencies was played out just a few months back on January 6th when a gang of domestic terrorists stormed the United States Capitol brandishing weapons, Nazi and Confederate Flags and broke windows and desecrated the halls and some of the offices of what Pres Biden called "the seat of our Democracy." And, these thugs were ushered out and on to there busses to leave the Capitol without further incident. In fact, some law enforcement officers were seen giving them high-fives and taken selfies with them as they trashed and defaced the Capitol. Conversely, several months before that when Black protesters converged on the Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, DC in a peaceful protest for George Floyd, they were tear gassed and pepper sprayed by police. So, we can clearly see the optics of both events and how each group was treated and or mistreated by the same police officers. And, the constant refrain we continue to hear is that police officers react sometimes violently in the heat of the moment. And, this is the cause for many of the fatalities of Black people at the hands of the police. However, I would like to point out that in both cases previously mentioned; at the Capitol, and the other at the Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, DC, the difference between the two circumstances is that one started very violently and the other was very peaceful and yet the peaceful protest was treated like it was a violent mob, and conversely the violent mob was treated like it started as a peaceful protest. What is extremely telling in both situations is the enormous amount of restraint and discipline that the police officers seemed to show to the White domestic terrorists that stormed the Capitol vs. the peaceful Black Lives Matter Protestors that were tear gassed and pepper sprayed by Washington Police so that then Pres. Donald Trump could get a photo op with an upside down Bible in front of church. Imagine the optics of that. So, the questions becomes why were the police able to show restraint and discipline with one group and not with the other? Hmmm... I'll wait. But, I think you already know the answer.
Radio Host Michael Nimmons shares his thoughts on the Derek Chauvin Verdict on Thinking Out Loud TV
I wanted to share my reactions in words as well as verbally in our weekly Instagram LIVE that we call "The After Show' which is an extension of our weekly Thinking Out Loud Radio Show Podcast. We do these lives to interact with an engage with the listeners of the podcast to get their reactions and feedback to guest interviews, and hot discussion topics that we have on the show. During the LIVE "After Show" we did later than evening after the Derek Chauvin verdict, people were echoing the same sentiment about what had happened earlier in a courtroom in Minneapolis, Minnesota. An overwhelming since of relief was felt by all who believed that Derek Chauvin was GUILTY on all 3 counts, but somehow believed in spite of all of evidence against him, he could still go free. And, so this was therapeutic for us as Black Americans, for many of us it was a great sense of relief and hope that was restored into our collective conscious. Even though we know what the outcome should be, the reality is in most cases it ends up being what we never expected, and the exhaustion and anxiety of that is realized in the aftermath of these outcomes we did not anticipate, in and of itself is emotionally debilitating. Enduring the victimization of the police and vilifying the victim is a reality that the Black Community has come to gripes with. However, there are two very distinct moments that I want to make mention of as I bring this long over due blog to a close. Atty Jerry Blackwell in his closing rebuttal of the Derek Chauvin Trial, said something so prolific and profound as it relates to the real cause of George Floyd's death, in response to the Defense Atty Eric Nelson's assortment of reasons why George Floyd's life was taken that fateful day in May 2020; including an enlarge heart. Jerry Blackwell said, "the fact of the matter is that George Floyd died not because his heart was too big, but because Derek Chauvin's heart was too small." A drop the mic moment; that I believe sealed Chauvin's fate with the jurors and ultimately yielded a unanimous GUILTY verdict on all three counts. And, the final moment of course came from George Floyd's own daughter who when asked how she felt about what happened to her daddy, she said it seems with so much pride in her heart, "I believe my daddy is going to change the world." Well, Gianna, it looks like he really did.
Yes, it looks like he really did!