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KT edit: Justice for Floyd must lead to reconciliation

Filed on April 21, 2021

The law had prevailed, and justice has indeed been served but there’s a lot to do to make Black-Americans and other minority communities feel secure in the country.


Amid the din of ‘Justice for George Floyd’ that has been rightly served by a jury in a Minnesota court in the United States, it is important for Americans to now take the long road that goes beyond justice and towards healing racial rifts that have dogged the country for decades. The trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer whose brutal use of force choked Floyd to death last year after he resisted arrest, was one of the most-watched in American history over three weeks. Officials and the media had prepared for violent protests with some politicians egging people to take the law into their own hands in the event of Chauvin’s acquittal, which was not to be. The law had prevailed, and justice has indeed been served but there’s a lot to do to make Black-Americans and other minority communities feel secure in the country.

The United States is a more diverse country than it was in the 1960s at the height of the civil rights movement. Since then many things have changed but many more have remained the same for the Black community that has felt side-tracked by the ruling class who, they believe, have denied them equal opportunity in jobs and education. George Floyd, the 46-year-old, whose neck was held down by a cop’s knee for a full nine minutes and 29 seconds, was perhaps a victim of the system that had little empathy for those who had been left behind. “I can’t breathe,” he gasped but the police ignored pleas by first-aiders and the victim as he was held down. The move proved fatal for Floyd and his body soon went limp. He never breathed again.

The defence argued that Floyd was under the influence of drugs and had struggled with opioid issues for most of his adult life. But that was no justification for the excessive use of force by the police. Floyd did not threaten the Chauvin and his team who arrived on the scene when doubts were raised by the grocery store clerk about the $20 bill produced for a purchase. His speech may have been slurred but he had a right to be heard and dealt with under the spirit of the law. He did not pull out a gun and threaten public order but was lost in the currency of life that sold out people like him. Floyd deserved a second chance that he, sadly, did not get on that fateful day. What stands out from the trial is steely-eyed and stoic Chauvin, the policeman who turned perp. The rogue cop showed no remorse and failed to take the stand. But, with this verdict, America has proven that the law ‘finally works’ as one commentator put it. It must now walk that long road towards reconciliation.





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