Home/Rod Dreher/Chauvin Verdict Settles Little

Chauvin Verdict Settles Little

Front page of the Minneapolis Star Tribune website

I just watched the Chauvin verdict. I have no opinion about it, other than that I hope justice was done, and that if this is justice, that the Floyd family and everybody else in Minneapolis can find a measure of healing.

I followed Andrew McCarthy’s trial analysis in National Review Online. He watched the whole thing, and he’s a former prosecutor, so I trust him to understand the legal issues. In my case, I’m too caught up in Chauvin as a condensed symbol, so I really have no way of understanding the intricacies of the law and how it applies to his case. Earlier this morning, McCarthy explained his belief that Chauvin should be acquitted on two counts, and convicted on a third. His reasoning seemed plausible to me. That Chauvin was convicted on all three counts suggests to me that he might see some of that overturned on appeal, especially given that Rep. Maxine Waters shot her mouth off before the jury was sequestered. But we will see. At least we don’t have to worry about national riots for now.

When the verdict came, I was reading this New York Times story about how black religious leaders in Georgia are leading a boycott of Home Depot for the company’s decision to stay out of Georgia political controversies. More:

A major coalition of Black faith leaders in Georgia, representing more than 1,000 churches in the state, called on Tuesday for a boycott of Home Depot, arguing that the company had abdicated its responsibility as a good corporate citizen by not pushing back on the state’s new voting law.

The call for a boycott, led by Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, who oversees all 534 African Methodist Episcopal churches in Georgia, represents one of the first major steps to put significant economic pressure on businesses to be more vocal in opposing Republican efforts in Georgia and around the country to enact new restrictions on voting.

“We don’t believe this is simply a political matter,” Bishop Jackson said in an interview. “This is a matter that deals with securing the future of this democracy, and the greatest right in this democracy is the right to vote.”

Home Depot, Mr. Jackson said, “demonstrated an indifference, a lack of response to the call, not only from clergy, but a call from other groups to speak out in opposition to this legislation.”

Ah. You will be made to care. The reader who sent me this story said this represents a major shift. A company is not being punished by activists for what it has done, but rather for what it chose not to do. These woke activists will not permit anybody to remain silent or uninvolved.

In other racial conflict news, Peter Rossi, the teacher canned by ultrawoke Grace Church school in Manhattan for criticizing its abusive Critical Race Theory pedagogy, secretly taped George Davison, the head of school, admitting that the school is demonizing white children. Both men are white. A new multiracial, politically diverse advocacy organization, FAIR, has taken up Rossi’s case, and has more information on its website. These were released after Davison publicly accused Rossi of misquoting him. He did not. Listen for yourself to the voice of institutional cowardice:

All of this CRT stuff went nuclear after the Floyd killing. Unless all of his convictions are overturned, Chauvin is going to jail for what he did that day. But the left-wing race hatred and the racialized destruction of institutions is going to be with us for a long time — especially because power-holders like George Davison refuse to defend what’s right. So, while I am grateful for what looks like closure in the Chauvin case, the leftists in this country who have taken over the institutions, and who have the media’s hot air in their sails, are going to continue pushing a narrative that is going to make people of all races fearful of and loathsome to each other. Guaranteed.

UPDATE:Matthew Walther is very pleased with the verdict. Excerpts:

Like millions of observers, I was not surprised by the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the now-former police officer who was convicted of the murder of George Floyd on Tuesday by a jury in Minneapolis.

I say “not surprised” for two reasons. The first is simply that there was no other reasonable interpretation of the plain evidence that was presented to the jurors, especially the infamous video showing an all-but-gleeful Chauvin putting his knee on the neck of a man who had been suspected of trying to pass off a phony $20 bill at a nearby store. In an unambiguous sense, he was guilty of the crimes of which he was accused according to their straightforward statutory definition.

Well, that’s not exactly right. The eleven or so minutes of police body cam footage leading up to the knee-on-the-neck gave meaningful context. The police had struggled with this large, uncooperative, drugged suspect to get him into the police car, but Floyd would not cooperate. Hear me: this does not justify what Chauvin did with the knee, but it does make it a different story than simply throwing him onto the ground and grinding the knee in his neck for passing a counterfeit bill. Until I saw that footage, I had been under the impression that the first thing the police did was treat Floyd like that.

Still, Walther has a point:

This is what made the arguments of those who have gone out of their way to defend Chauvin so ghoulish. If you seriously believe that a police officer attempting to apprehend a man accused of using counterfeit money is justified in putting his knee upon the latter’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds, there is no limit to what powers you think law enforcement has. And if monetary fraud is such a serious crime, where, I wonder, was the knee on Bernie Madoff’s neck?

Again, it’s misleading to state that Chauvin treated Floyd that was because of “monetary crime”. Had Floyd consented to arrest and obeyed the police, he would be alive today. Again, I can accept that Chauvin behaved wrongly here, and as I indicated above, I think Andy McCarthy made a good case for conviction on at least one of the charges. I think it really was important to know if Floyd might have died from drugs in his system, or from Chauvin’s actions. McCarthy’s reporting on the trial convinced me that a conviction was merited, though not on all counts. If this verdict keeps future suspects from being subdued so cruelly, then good.

UPDATE: A reader e-mails:

Left-wing reaction to the Chauvin trial has been bizarre, to say the least. Best I can surmise is that they’re so surprised by the verdict, they’re not sure how to react to it. “Should we still riot?” seems to be the question of the moment.

Take a look at what BLM has to say:

https://twitter.com/Blklivesmatter/status/1384619443305783296

What took so long, they ask?

https://twitter.com/Blklivesmatter/status/1384619442022215685

Hmm… I wonder how they feel about the fact it also took over a year for O.J. Simpson to be acquitted of murdering Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman? Is BLM aware that all court cases, especially high-profile ones that become highly-charged, thanks to folks like BLM and Maxine Waters, take forever to adjudicate?

Here’s what the utterly predictable AOC had to say:

https://twitter.com/alexsalvinews/status/1384635486472388610

Finally, there’s widespread consensus that, in fact, the rioting did have an effect on the outcome of this trial:

https://twitter.com/MrAndyNgo/status/1384627777270423555

Making things stranger still is that there’s a slight consensus on both the Left and the Right that justice was delivered. Judge Jeanine, for one, thinks that, even on appeal, all three convictions will stand. I think most people think what Derek Chauvin did was wrong and he deserved some sort of redress for it (myself included), though folks on the Right think murder might still be too harsh of a charge.

So history is rhyming – last year, there was broad consensus then that Chauvin’s actions were improper, but people still found a way to come apart. This year, there’s broad consensus Chauvin was guilty of something, but now we’re coming apart on what it all means – was he found guilty because the system is just? Or was he found guilty because the mob is finally in control of this country and they’ve figured out how to influence an unjust system?

Personally, I think it’s both. I think the system is less flawed than people think, but I also think it’s indisputable that the environment created by the Left made it virtually impossible for anything other than a guilty verdict on all three charges to stand. I hate to think the jurors rendered their judgments based on fear, but it’s happened before – the outcome of the federal trial of the four officers involved in the beating of Rodney King was attributed to the chilling effect created by the 1992 Los Angeles riots. For now, I give them the benefit of the doubt, because I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes.

With justice, is there peace? Absolutely not. Again, the outcome of the case manages to divide us even when we agree on the verdict. Since the Left still believes the system to be unjust and that violence is the way to get what you want, what incentive is there for them not to cause carnage and achieve revolution? With the gleeful aid of the media and politicians, I think a new norm has been firmly established – mob rule. It was de facto, but it’s now the law of the land. If I were a cop, I’d be seeking employment elsewhere.

So, in that sense, I totally agree with the Left – this is just the beginning of an accelerating breakdown of law and order. Justice may’ve been delivered today, but it’s going to come at a hell of a cost.

By the way, we already have a new flashpoint – cops in Columbus, OH shot and killed a 15-year-old Black girl.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

leave a comment

Latest Articles