Contributed by Jim Hayes
The big news today is the guilty verdict for Derek Chauvin, the man who knelt of George Floyd’s head and killed him. He was found guilty of all three charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter, and crowds cheered outside.
By finding the accused guilty, the jury made a momentous decision. Racism in the police force is an epidemic in the United States, which came to the point , where after Floyd’s videoed and widely seen killing, erupted in anger. Millions were out in the streets demanding change.
Derek Chauvin found guilty of all charges in George Floyd murder trial
Video from DW News
It was the revulsion of most Americans and the strength of the evidence, combined with the mood outside the court, produced the rare verdict.
President Joe Biden was right when he said in a televised response, “It was a murder in the full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see the systemic racism”. But it is important to define what this systemic racism is and to act on it.
The black Lives Matter movement grew enormously after the killing. It was there in the background during the trial. The nation was at the point of another eruption if Derek Chauvin had of walked free.
Cheers erupt outside courtroom as Chauvin guilty verdict is delivered
Video from Guardian News
American style justice hardly ever charges police officers and a guilty verdict in a court is extremely rare. This says that the race problem is much broader than the police force and within the fabric of American society.
The systemic problem that Joe Biden referred to is rooted in the way the police forces are constructed, and even more so in the nature of the economic and political system.
There are already attempts to pass this off as a Minneapolis and Minnesota problem. The police shooting of a 15-year-old black girl in Ohio just hours after the verdict brought home that this is not true.
A problem is that the trial did not deal with the underlying problem and only considered a failure to follow proper procedure. The effect is to cast the issue as the fault of a rotten apple. The systemic problem that led to the killing was ignored.
This will be the push outside the court. Vested interests want no messing with a system that has done so well for them. Here we are talking about an elite of owners of corporations, politicians, and officials. Their fortunes have long depended on social division, to keep people apart and exploit them.
Colour and ethnic division provide the conditions for cheap labour, with the added advantage of providing scapegoats. This will not be given up so easily.
Now that wound lies opening and festering, a makeover can be expected. There will be some minor tweaks to suggest the problem of racism is being fixed, when the underlying reality is that everything remans or less the same. The challenge for the United States, and this means ordinary people, is to make sure this doesn’t happen.