April 26, 2021•Dr. Leeno Karumanchery
We can now finally say what we all knew to be true for almost a year now. On May 25th 2020, George Floyd was murdered in the custody of the Minneapolis Police, and under the knee of then officer Derek Chauvin.
In the 48hrs since the verdict, the world has been slowly coming to grips with the notion that Chauvin will actually have to pay for his crimes. In this time we’ve heard a lot about the difference between justice and accountability and it’s a distinction that we must hold clearly in our thoughts as we move forward.
There is no justice in this! George Floyd was tortured and killed needlessly at the knee of a public servant sworn to protect him. No amount of prison time will bring added meaning to his death. He may be held personally accountable, but there is no justice in his conviction.
Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd because he felt that he could. That there would be no ramification for his behaviour. That he would be protected by the Blue Wall of Silence. If you doubt that, just look at the Minneapolis Police Department’s initial description of George Floyd’s death that I have shared here.
Power + Indifference creates the ability to harm without concern, and we could see that abject lack of concern on the faces of Chauvin and each of his partners.
This is not a matter of a few bad apples.
This is about systemic rot.
This is about how we have created a social system where certain bodies are not only seen as violable, but as rightly violable because:
Black bodies are dangerous
Black bodies are less deserving of empathy
Black bodies won’t be believed
Black bodies should be shot before they shoot you
When we can act with impunity, what reason is there to measure our actions? What reason is there to consider the pros and cons of firing a shot?
When we are taught every day that Blackness should be equated with danger, what reason is there not to shoot first?
Held together this is a dangerous combination.
George Floyd is dead and no amount prison time for his murderer will bring him justice.
Derek Chauvin being held accountable will not change the ever-present truth that Black mothers and fathers will feel the same stress tonight when their children leave their homes as they did last night.
There are plenty of Derek Chauvin’s out there right now being nurtured by systems that place them above the law and teach them every day that the if they harass, or beat, or shoot… or kneel, that they will be OK.
Justice wasn’t served. But maybe we are on the path to finding it.