The Derek Chauvin trail has begun.
Instead of over eight minutes of Chauvin with his knee on the neck of George Floyd, we now know it was 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
We know the first two arresting officers had handcuffed George Floyd and that he had begun to plead, “Please don’t shoot me.” And that he expressed fear of getting into the squad car.
Then Officer Chauvin and his partner arrived.
The four officers’ escalation of force had bystanders expressing concern for the safety of George Floyd. And one by one they spoke tearfully and painfully from the witness stand of how they watched George Floyd killed that day.
They spoke of feeling helpless. They spoke of regret. They wondered what more they could have done to save the life of a man they did not know. They recognized it could’ve easily been one of them, there on the cement, held by four men with a man’s knee on their neck. For 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
They’ll never forget George Floyd begging for his life, crying out that he couldn’t breathe, and calling for his mother.
The entire world is watching. And again we are reliving the senseless killing of a man of color by an officer sworn to protect and defend. Once again we hear the defense of fear as the excuse given to treat another human being as less than.
I can’t help but recall the photos I’ve seen of white hoods and hatred. Of whips and forced removals, of white ugliness cloaked in religion and shielded by politics and the “law”.
And I hope and pray that we see ourselves on trial and that we make it our business to not turn away. Make it change.
Say his name. George Floyd.
photo courtesy of No Spiritual Surrender on Facebook.