There is little doubt that the verdict of the Derek Chauvin trial is historic - in the result and in occurrence. It ranks up there with the likes of the OJ Simpson verdict, of which I was a young child, of which that I will always remember where I was, my feelings, and the aftermath.
I wanted to let the moment, and even the loud aftershocks, settle before sharing my thoughts or writing this post. As you saw from news channels, columns, Twitter, and everywhere and anywhere else this verdict was discussed, the thoughts, opinions, and discourse became skewed, partisan, and unfortunately, a tool for various agendas.
In many respects, the trial, and verdict further exposed so much of what we have to work on - away from the obvious of racial and systemic equality.
Here are my quick thoughts and reaction on this entire ordeal:
DURING THE TRIAL
- I made a clear decision when the trial began to keep tabs on it only through text and print. Why? For me - and I'll urge that as you continue to read on - experiencing a live defense for Derek Chauvin would be emotionally too difficult for me. It was still tough in print, but the trauma for people of color that is carried from these events is a matter that is often overlooked.
And of course, while this ordeal was captured on video, and Chauvin has a right to a fair trial before his peers, I never truly believed - not once - that there would be a full conviction.
- Another reason for print/text-only? I found the coverage of the trial, as well as the importance of the trial, to vary among the news channels. We all know the partisan lines and agendas these stations carry, but it was rather interesting and revealing to see the extent of the coverage and the narratives from each of them. Again - for me - it revealed that so much of this situation, of which dates back to last year, still isn't as clear-cut as the video we horrifically watched. This isn't just about justice. There would still be political weight attached to this.
I began preparing myself for that - regardless of the verdict.
- I could not stop thinking about the seventeen-year-old with tremendous guts, courage, and instincts, Darnella Frazier. Darnella is responsible for the video that added visual evidence to what was once a blind area of privilege for so many. She's responsible for a video that gives us 9 minutes and 29 seconds of insight into broken accord between enforcement and communities of color.
History should remember the incredibly 17 year old Darnella Frazier who had the strength and composure to capture the murder of #georgefloyd on video. Without her video there may never have been #justice.— Valerie Jarrett (@ValerieJarrett) April 20, 2021
I could not stop thinking about her words on the stand during the trial of wishing she could have done more and how it haunts her to this day. The reality that she was behind that lens - in person, just mere feet away from this disgusting act - as George Floyd's life was being snuffed out by a knee to his neck, is something I continue to wrestle with.
You wanna talk about carrying trauma?
BEFORE THE VERDICT
- As the news broke that the jury had wrapped up deliberating and a verdict was expected, I still didn't have a good feeling about it all. It's an odd feeling for some who may not understand, but even with all of the evidence, these trials have something - anything - that comes up to deter a full conviction.
It doesn't make any sense to be this nervous while waiting for people to do what's right.— Edward Bowser (@etbowser) April 20, 2021
But here we are. #Verdict
I also found myself tremendously apprehensive, nervous, and anxious awaiting the verdict. I began to wonder if this goes as it always goes, what would it take for justice to be served within this system?
Who would ever have faith in this again? How can you?
Quite frankly, I realized that I myself had very little faith in the system to do what is right, which says everything about said system - regardless of this trial.
DURING THE VERDICT
- I don't think I took a breath during however long each of the verdicts were being read. I do remember simply awaiting and preparing myself to handle hearing "not guilty" at any moment.
- I tried to digest the relief of the moment, but I recall it being VERY hard to do. For me, I had to gather myself to host a Zoom call based around "Anti-Asian Hate" for students - go figure.
- There was a brief moment that I thought about the Floyd family and how they felt - because that ultimately is what mattered. Did they find peace in this? I ultimately pivoted to thinking about the families of others killed in the same manner who didn't get this moment.
- Also, there was the mere look that was in Chauvin's eyes after hearing the verdict. The sudden head tilt and widening of the eyes spoke so loudly and clearly that he himself was not expecting what was said.
- And yes, I felt more relief than I did a sense of "history being made" or some sort of "tide changing".
The biggest and most moving piece about this verdict is accountability.
AFTER THE VERDICT
- Of course, this is where things get disappointing on so many levels. I immediately saw texts come in on my phone from those who wanted to discuss. I also scouted Twitter for some type of pulse of the nation. And yes, I flipped through the "trusty" cable news networks. The word "historic" was used so often, and yet I found myself wondering how something so right, so just, and so obvious in nature, has rocked, shook, and caused uncomfortableness within our nation? This is historic. Imagine?
All you need to know about this country is that the conviction of an obvious murder is considered an “historic moment in American history.”— Full Dissident (@hbryant42) April 20, 2021
Greg Gutfeld: "I'm glad [Chauvin] was found guilty on all charges, even if he might not be guilty of all charges. I am glad that he is guilty of all charges because I want a verdict that keeps this country from going up in flames." (Note the groans from his Fox News colleagues.) pic.twitter.com/DulsFEMwcO— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 20, 2021